John Pearson

John Pearson (1940- )

Was born in Yorkshire, England. After years of study in Britain and on the continent he joined the faculty at Oberlin College in 1972 where he is currently the Young-Hunter Professor of Art. He has since had a distinguished career as a teacher and artist. Both attracted and repelled by technology, in his early work Pearson employed the computer as a source of visual information to pursue one idea (seriality) in depth to create complex, hand-crafted works of balanced color and geometry. In the 1990s, Pearson traveled and exhibited in Japan, where he abandoned the computer and revived his earlier interest in natural phenomena and the endless configurations of nature. In a 1995 essay he wrote: “For the moment, seriality and its handmaiden the computer have been put to sleep… The simplicity of the expression and the acceptance that all things were imbued with spirit [in Shinto art and religion] seemed to reflect perfectly my comprehension of being.” Pearson’s two works in the Putnam Collection, Fresnel Series #1 (1996) and Fresnel Series #2 (1996) were made during the period when he was exploring to express his new sense of color and its emotive qualities. Pearson says he associates Fresnel with color, hence a “color” series. The strong, hard-edged simple geometric shapes in bold colors, combined with sweeping, almost gestural graphic lines suggest a surge of emotion, representing the artist’s perception that “The function of art is to introduce or heighten experience.” Between 1971-93 Pearson’s work was featured in seventeen Cleveland May Shows earning 13 awards or special mentions . With over 100 one-man exhibitions in Europe, Israel and Japan, he has gained numerous accolades and prizes including the 1975 Cleveland Arts Prize for Visual Arts. The Cleveland Museum along with major museums in Europe and the United States own his work, as do many private and corporate collections.

Works in the collection:

27 Fresnel Series #1, 1996
Wood, acrylic paint, aluminum
Case Quadrangle, Rockefeller Building, [1996.1]

28 Fresnel Series #2, 1996
Wood, acrylic paint, aluminum
Case Quadrangle, Rockefeller Building, [1996.2]


The Putnam Sculpture Collection
Case Western Reserve University
11201 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44106-7110