New generation of Haslingden artist’s fans

Lancashire Telegraph: Bob Firth with some of the works of artist Dave Pearson Bob Firth with some of the works of artist Dave Pearson

A NEW generation of critics have been won over by the work of a Haslingden artist – nearly four years after his death.

Dave Pearson amassed more than 15,000 works during a life devoted to creativity, many from his imposing studio in Manchester Road.

And now art lovers have heaped praise after a collection – To Byanztium and Beyond – was exhibited at Bermondsey Project Space in London.

Art writer Edward Lucie-Smith said: “It's not often nowadays that a really major artist slips through the net.

“The show is an autobiography – one of the greatest composed by any 20th century British artist.”

Pearson, a former alunmni of Manchester School of Art and Design, died in July 2008 after battling cancer.

Renewed interest in Pearson’s canon, whose influences ranged from Van Gogh to English calendar customs and the ship-yards of Jarrow, even saw him featured on BBC1’s The One Show last month.

And a documentary on Pearson, directed by Derek Smith and containing 40-year-old archive footage of the artist, was also a finalist in a category at the New York Film and Television Festival.

For Bob Frith, one of the directors of the Dave Pearson Trust, dedicated to preserving his legacy, the reaction has been invigorating.

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Mr Frith, one of Pearson’s former students and artistic director of the Horse and Bamboo Theatre in Waterfoot, said: “The exhibition has been a great success and the reaction from critics has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Retiring in 2002, the artist continued to create fresh artworks right up until his death.

His former studio is now managed by the trust, which also incorporates his son Chris, and an ex-colleague, Margaret Mytton.

Born in London, he first moved up north when he secured a post at Preston’s Harris College, before moving to Manchester.

He lived in the Valley from the mid-60s onwards, close to his studio.

The London exhibition closes on Sunday.

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