Pacific Standard Time, the sprawling, Getty-sponsored, 60-venue celebration of the emergence of the Los Angeles art scene, is already a major guiding consideration in much of the exhibitions scheduled across LA – even though the official event does not officially kick-off until October of this year. In a somewhat counter-intuitive approach to addressing the history of art in LA, Sam Lee Gallery in Chinatown is very intentionally mounting “Color Rise,” paintings by British-born, Ohio resident and internationally exhibited artist, John Pearson, whose last (and only) Los Angeles show was in the late ’80s.
Why John Pearson? Well, there are a couple of reasons:
First, something that wouldn’t be gleaned from looking at his work:
As I understand it, the 71-year-old Pearson was once, LA art giant David Hockney’s roommate back in the early ’60s when they were both art students in London. And, notably, from a practice-of-art standpoint, he shares Hockney’s penchant for technology – often employing computers to generate his imagery.
The more obvious reason is the strong influence of Los Angeles’s brand of hard-edged painting on Pearson’s canvases. He may not be from LA, but his artwork sure looks like it is – and in a creative medium based on surfaces, that’s more than enough to pass.
Employing super-flat, candy-colored hues of California sunlight to paradoxically simulate transparency (like the sliding glass doors and huge plate glass windows that tie together a bright Southern California landscape with a private interior,) Pearson’s geometric abstractions seem completely at home, right here in LA.