Color Rise
September 10 – October 29, 2011
Reception for the Artist: Saturday, September 17, 6 – 8 pm


Los Angeles, CA - Sam Lee Gallery is proud to present Color Rise, a solo exhibition of 6 new  paintings by John Pearson. In a city with a rich history of abstraction, this 71-year-old Brit’s recent, hard-edged paintings are quite a unique and critical addition to this genre; he works across media, using over 50 years of his artmaking practice to create elegant forms that straddle abstraction and figuration, lightness and darkness, painting and sculpture.


Pearson employs vibrant planes of color to induce the sensations of life’s energy and cycle of regeneration. Each acrylic-on-canvas is an echo of the artist’s sense of wonder and awe at nature and its processes even though nothing in the work is a direct representation of the landscape. Fluid bands of majestic colors are meticulously applied in alternating stripes of varying widths along the canvas’s surface, while simple, geometric shapes (either a set of 2 ovals, 2 circles or 2 teardrops in a surprising pigment) are strategically situated and superimposed. The work is also unique in its construction, as the canvas is stretched over an “S”-shaped wooden frame, measuring 6 ft. in height, approximately 30 inches in width, and 3 inches in depth. With the sides reverse-bevelled cut at a 30° angle, the paintings appear to “float” off the walls, creating a halo of shadows around each piece. Pearson’s sculptural paintings display a dramatic contrast of colors, evoking a visual push-pull that energizes and seduces.


Although Color Rise is not directly affiliated with Pacific Standard Time (an initiative of the Getty Museum with arts institutions across Southern California from October 2011 to April 2012), this exhibition can be viewed as a fascinating look at Pearson’s work in relation to that of the reductive abstraction artists such as Karl Benjamin, Lorser Feitelson, Frederick Hammersley and John McLaughlin a generation earlier. Color Rise marks Pearson’s 2nd solo show in Los Angeles. His first was 19 years ago in 1992.


John Pearson, born 1940 in North Yorkshire, England, lives and works in Oberlin, Ohio. In 1965, he earned his MFA from Northern Illinois University, Illinois and also BFA from the Royal Academy Schools, London (1963). In 1963, Pearson’s work was highly selected for a career-changing, 2-person show, Young Talent, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London. Pearson’s paintings, drawings, and prints have appeared in more than 100 one-person and group exhibitions both in Europe and the United States and are represented in more than 80 private and public collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Akron Art Museum. Articles on and exhibition reviews of Pearson’s work have been published in Art In America, Art International, The New Art Examiner. He is currently the endowed Hunter-Young Chair in Studio Art at Oberlin College where Pearson has taught since 1972.


Digital images are available for press purposes. Please email ( for reproduction requests.


Sam Lee Gallery is located at 990 North Hill Street #190, Los Angeles, CA  90012, Phone 323-227-0275, Facsimile 323-227-0256. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 12 to 6 pm and by appointment. For detailed information, please visit the gallery’s website,