Saturday, 25 June 2011


Edward Lucie-Smith speaking; Margaret Mytton
to his left

From the left: Leslie Morphy (CEO Crisis), Marcel Baetig (CEO Bow Arts),
ELS, MM, and Mick Bateman (Manager of the Project).
Yesterday afternoon I travelled down to London with Margaret Mytton to the opening of the Bermondsey Project Space. For us, this development has grown from Edward-Lucie Smith's involvement in Derek Smith's film. ELS mentioning the Bermondsey project and suggesting it as a gallery space in which to show Dave Pearson's work. Derek joined us at the opening, travelling from his house in Hackney.

The Project is a new initiative; a very exciting coming together of CRISIS (the charity for the homeless), Bow Artists' studios, and the vision of Edward Lucie-Smith. In fact quite a visionary project on all fronts, because it must have taken an imaginative leap for the charity to see the potential for artist's studios, and a gallery space, to become a building block in creating opportunities for homeless young people. 

So what we saw was a brand new gallery on the ground floor of a London version of a mill building; and on the 3rd and 4th floors at least 60 artists' studios - collectively part of the Bow Arts group. The gallery was an exhuberant space, with good light, good acoustic, and with a great presence - one large and characterful space, with smaller offshoot rooms and wide corridors - a perfect place to show paintings.

We talked with ELS, who had clearly already given the idea of an exhibition of Dave's work some serious thought; as he showed us around he told us how he imagined we might use parts of the space. We also began to look at the periods available to us - this will be organised with Mick Bateman, who manages the new space and is an artist himself, and will be at some point next year. The idea of the show is thrilling, and there's every reason to think this space could develop under the management of a very dedicated, ambitious and imaginative team, into one of London's most exciting new galleries. The perfect place to show some of Dave Pearson's large paintings.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A new phase

Last weekend the Trust met. We normally have a formal session every six months, although we meet more frequently, and it's not unusual for us to be in touch, over specific issues, several times a week by email.

The main items on the agenda related to the film. First the need to prepare for the launch at the Cornerhouse in Manchester set for the beginning of September; and secondly how to follow this up in order to create a momentum of interest about Dave's work. One hope would be to extend the undoubted interest that exists in the North-West to London, and that has been helped enormously by some advice and suggestions of where to show the work by Edward Lucie-Smith.

The workload involved will be large, and it has been clear for some time that neither Margaret Mytton or myself have the capacity outside of our own work to manage something on this scale. As a result we discussed taking up the proposal by Julian Williams of the local See Gallery to work more closely with us and project manage both the cinema launch and any follow-up exhibition in London.

The Trust discussed this option, and Julian came along at one point to outline his proposals. We have had three exhibitions of Dave Pearson's work at the See and have been impressed by Julian and Jackie's integrity and genuine commitment to the work. As a result the Trust have agreed to enter into this agreement with Julian, and since the meeting we've been looking at time-lines and how to formalise the arrangement. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Half a century

There's a palpable push now to get the film completed. Margaret Mytton is working hard to provide Derek Smith with the extra images of Dave's work that are required to fill small sections of the film and create the necessary balance between documentary footage, talking heads, and examples of Dave's work. Derek has promised us a copy of the film in its current state in a day or two, and he has even given a preview to a colleague familiar with film production for his view. Broadly the feedback was highly positive, but still a few minor tweaks need to take place.

In the process some interesting things are coming to light. Not least through the work Margaret is doing to improve the quality of the photographed images. As she has said many times, the recording of Dave's work on camera has been piecemeal and nearly always in far-from-ideal conditions; as a result it has been a mammoth task for her to create adequate photographs for use in the film. But in the process we've seen some of Dave's earliest work...

...such as this lovely drawing of his parents at home in Glyn Road, Hackney, London; probably drawn in the early 1960s. Then there's the late work, much of which deals with his illness and hospitalisation during the last decade of his life:

Above is a detail from one of a wonderful series he made using photographed prints combined with embroidery, made roughly half a century after the drawing. 50 years of drawings and paintings that describe a lifetime.