Aaron Pearson’s work deals primarily with the paradoxes inherent to human memory in relation to the present. He employs the traditional tools of a painter‚ oil paint, canvas, wood panels‚ to create what could be considered traditional ‚ genre‚ pictures: landscapes and figures. These traditional forms are flattened, tweaked and subverted through a process of remembrance and forgetting, inference and allusion. He has shown his work most recently in a one man show at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, in Ketchum, ID, and his work can be found in numerous private collections throughout the country and the world. He was the recipient of the Perspectives on Design Award in 2002 which included a two-person show at the Jaffe-Friede Gallery at Dartmouth College. He has received several other awards and grants supporting his work. Aaron received a BA in Studio Art with honors from Dartmouth College in 2001. He has lived in Argentina, Italy, New York City and California. Most recently, he returned to his native Sun Valley, Idaho three years ago.
What is your earliest memory of art making?
My earliest memories of art making aren’t of myself making it; both my mother and grandmother (on my dad’s side) are painters, and seeing them drawing and painting are among my earliest memories. I loved painting and drawing when I was little, and never really stopped loving it. I didn’t have much formal art training until college when I was able to take studio classes and eventually major in Studio Art.
How do you describe your work to people?
With considerable difficulty? All kidding aside, I tend to focus on the process of arriving to a finished piece and that the reason that I make paintings is to express things that are not easily expressed with words.
There are pieces that take minutes or hours and others that take years to finish. I like to talk about how much different my experience of making a painting is from that of what a viewer sees. A viewer only sees the finished piece, a frozen moment, whereas I have ‘known’ it since I stretched and primed the canvas, put down some idea as a starting point, and then all the way through its journey to being finished. As a result of this, I have no expectation that the viewer will have the same experience I do with a piece.
Otherwise, I explain that I paint (and draw), almost completely in oils, on canvas and wood and paper. My work is largely abstract but always bound to a physical concept, usually a person, place or thing. The subject of the work of late has been mountains and some of them could be considered landscapes; not literal landscapes and mountains, but figurative or poetic ones.
What other artists inspire you?
Anselm Kiefer, Francis Bacon (hero), Richard Diebenkorn, Sean Scully, Steve Roden…
Does your day job effect your artistic practice?
It certainly can and does detract from the time and energy available to devote to studio work. When I first moved back to Idaho, I thought I would have much more time than I have had to work in my studio. My job (as IT director at the Library) proved to be a far greater challenge than I anticipated. In the end, I went on something of a hiatus for the better part of three years. Recently things have stabilized considerably, and I have made more time and energy to paint again; the results might be finally starting to show. The hiatus has been a positive thing as well though. My work had lost some of its mooring and the time away seems to have afforded me greater clarity and focus coming back.
Favorite artist quote?
Francis Bacon: “the moment the story is elaborated, the boredom sets in; the story talks louder than the paint… I don’t want to avoid telling a story, but I want very, very much to do the thing that Valéry said – to give the sensation without the boredom of it’s conveyance. And the moment the story enters, the boredom comes upon you.”
I really love that on a lot of levels, but mostly it speaks so clearly to what painting has to offer and the reason it is yet to be killed off; it operates on and affects the human mind in a way that is very direct and resists easy narrative. It has the capacity to bypass verbal thought and operate on the poetic level. At least so I hope.
Poster designed by Chatham Baker
hand silkscreen on heavy weight vellum
Edition of 100
12″ x 18″
order it at www.ochishop.com, or pick one up at the opening, Friday, June 22nd 7-9 PM