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John Pearce
La bicyclette bleue Chataignier et hautes herbes Midwinter sunlight
oil, 2013, 15.75 x 31.5in 80 x 40cm oil, 2012, 36 x 48in 91 x 122cm oil, 2011, 49 x 37in 125 x 95cm
Spring wasteground Mametz Wood Pool covered with water-milfoil, Normandy
oil, 2009, 5 x 7in 13 x 18cm oil, 2006, 40 x 30in 102 x 76cm oil, 2007, 48 x 64in 122 x 163cm

Price range £3000- £35000


John Pearce

Please click on the link below to view a short video, showing the process behind the creation of one of Pearce's latest works, Lenten Rose, shown above.


JOHN PEARCE was born in London in 1942 and studied painting and stained glass at Hornsey College of Art (1960 - 1963). Here his tutors included Bridget Riley and Maurice de Sausmarez and he won several college prizes, among them the Sketch Club Prize when the visiting judge was L.S. Lowry. In 1962 he was selected for the Young Contemporaries Exhibition in Suffolk Street, alongside emerging talents such as David Hockney and Patrick Caulfield. Pearce's symbolist painting, in contrast to the work of the early 'Pop' artists, was singled out for its 'originality and sincerity' by Anthony Caro at the Young Contemporaries Forum. He went on to postgraduate studies at Newcastle University and later at Middlesex University, embarking on a teaching career while continuing to paint for occasional exhibitions.

It was in the late 1960s and 1970s, when the domination of abstraction in painting was starting to be balanced by a respect for the depiction of situations and natural subjects observed directly (as seen in the recognition given to Lucian Freud and, belatedly, Stanley Spencer) that John Pearce began to discover his own distinctive voice. He acquired a taste for the private wilderness of urban gardens, partly cultivated, partly in a state of neglect. Working closely from his subjects, often every bit as slowly as the natural elements were growing, Pearce created compositions held together by a latticework of overlaid vegetation, through which are threaded flowers or plants marking progress from one season to another. Commenting, for instance, on Brambles in a North London Garden, he speaks of the painting evolving 'as an interplay of cool greens of reflected light and warm greens of transmitted light, in the painting of leaves and grasses: this in turn reflects the alchemy of photosynthesis taking place in them. It also has a symbolic reference for me to the interplay of detached intellect and involved feeling embodied in the process of painting.'

In the 1980s Pearce continued to work mostly out of doors, completing each work entirely on location, but he also engaged in portraiture. His work featured in the 'Spirit of London' exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall and London Stock Exchange in 1979 and 1980, when he was a prize-winner and a painting was acquired for the Guildhall Collection. In the 1980s his works were exhibited in the John Player Portrait Award exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Since 1984 John Pearce has devoted himself entirely to his own painting and has been represented by Francis Kyle Gallery since 1998. Working always from direct observation, he continues to favour a large-scale treatment of low-key subjects, approached with great intensity to the point where his vision of a corner of nature seems to fuse with his own identity as an observer. 'Each painting,' he comments, 'is an integral part of my experience in a unique time and place. Inevitably, time is not only a factor in the process: it becomes a subject of the painting.' So it is that in the larger works, each requiring many weeks to complete and always executed entirely on site, elements of more than a single season can be observed in the composition, creating a peculiarly odd and powerful impression: a contemporary answer to the exquisite still lifes of the old Dutch masters portraying flowers and plants from the full span of the seasons.

In spring 2000 John Pearce was a major participant in The Art of Memory: Contemporary Painters in search of Marcel Proust, a theme exhibition which travelled to the National Theatre on the South Bank in January 2001 and also participated in The Lair of the Leopard in 2005. First one-man exhibition with Francis Kyle Gallery 2002. In 2004 Pearce's work was featured in Tate Britain's major Summer Exhibition, 'Art of the Garden'. Second one-man show with Francis Kyle Gallery 2005.


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