Monday, 26 September 2011

The House of the Nobleman

On Friday we had a Trust meeting. We covered an exceptionally wide agenda - including our continued worries about HMRC and the issue of Estate Duty; pleasure at the amount of sales at the Open Studio weekend; additional worries about protecting vulnerable works on paper at such events, when our storage system can break down as visitors look through the drawers and unwittingly cause damage; and the matter of defining our developing relationship with Julian Williams and Jackie Taylor of the See Gallery more precisely.

Margaret Mytton reported back on the upcoming exhibition at the House of the Nobleman at Cornwall Terrace, Regents Park, in London. This, entitled 'The Return', and on the theme of works with a theological dimension, will include 8 newly framed works on paper by Dave Pearson, alongside a powerpoint presentation of her own collection of works from the Book of Revelation, that Dave donated to her before his death. Margaret has experienced communication problems with the curators but all now seems to be resolved, and Julian will deliver the pieces to London at the end of the month.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Following on...

I spent all of yesterday cataloguing the 54 pieces of work we sold at the Open Studios weekend. This means entering them into our Artlook software. Part of the day was also altering the software's default 'Stock Information Sheet' to incorporate the statement that Edward Lucie-Smith advised us to include on the sheet, asking future purchasers to notify the Trust of any change of ownership. Now I can print a full-colour A4 sheet for each buyer that gives them the necessary information about the piece, and its provenance. 

Then this morning I've written a report for the Borough Council on the open studio weekend (they gave us some funding towards it); a suggested Agenda for the Trust meeting this weekend, and a letter to our solicitor with a copy of the 'To Byzantium' DVD because we believe the Customs and Excise inspector looking at the issue of the Estate Duty may well be making his visit shortly. Although the DVD wasn't in any way made for this reason, it happens to function as the lead witness for the defense (!), in that it records, on film, the terrible state of the studio and the work in it at the time of Dave's death, and the tremendous work that has been done to remedy the situation and, as a result, considerably increase the value of the artwork. 

Meanwhile Margaret Mytton is trying to arrange a small exhibition of some of Dave's work in London, although communications are proving frustratingly difficult for her. More of this in a later blog I'm sure...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cataloguing work

Photographs courtesy of Derek Smith

The three photographs above are from the Cornerhouse launch weekend. At the top, in the Cornerhouse cinema with Dave's daughter Florence front left; below that myself and Chris Pearson post-curry; and the lower photograph myself with Edward Lucie-Smith

Edward gave us a lot of practical help. Not only helping with future showings of Dave Pearson's work in London, but also plenty of detailed advice - on what type of certification to provide buyers of Dave's work, and what information to add to those certificates, for example.

So this weekend, following on from the launch weekend and last weekend's Open Studios, there are 20 or so such certificates to produce to accompany the pieces of work sold. The new certificates will provide the following information: a catalogue number, a title, dimensions, media, a colour thumbnail image of the work, address of the Dave Pearson Trust, and a sentence or two asking buyers to notify the Trust should they sell the work to another buyer. I'll need to do this using the Artlook software, which provides a basic template, but it will need additions to create a fully comprehensive sheet using Edward's model.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A very special weekend

125 people came through the studio this weekend. In addition to the three Trust members we had 5 people 'on duty' all day answering questions and showing visitors Dave Pearson's work. Julian and Jackie of the See Gallery are to thank for supervising this event, and the volunteers who made it possible to open all the rooms to the public. Not least Dave Smith who stood faithfully by his post from 10 until 5 both days.

The reaction was unanimously positive - and many people stayed to watch the film, which was shown throughout the day, on each hour. We also sold a considerable amount of work - something I'm especially happy to do after the big outlay that the Trust have had recently on the film and the launch of the film. 

There's no doubt that interest and excitement about Dave is developing. This is really exciting and encourages me in feeling that the decisions we've made the past two years, some undeniably risky, have been the right ones.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Come and visit

The Open Studios weekend in Rossendale starts in less than an hours time. All the main studios in the Rossendale Valley open their doors from 10.30 until 5.00 pm today and tomorrow. A great opportunity to see some excellent art and some really fascinating studio spaces.

Dave Pearson's studio at 54 Manchester Road in Haslingden (BB4 5TE) is no exception. Last night all the artists did a road trip around one another's studios. Above we see a group watching To Byzantium, the new film about Dave which will be on screen throughout this weekend, and also Julian and Jackie of the See Gallery who have helped the Trust curate the exhibit. 

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Roads opening up...

Edward Lucie-Smith talking to Chris Pearson, Dave's son
The film-maker, Derek Smith
Derek Smith, Margaret Mytton, and Edward Lucie-Smith
Since the launch of To Byzantium (Derek Smith's film about Dave Pearson) on Sunday things have moved on quickly. The day gave us the opportunity, with Edward Lucie-Smith present at the launch, to discuss his plans for the London show of Dave's work in more detail. 

But since then all sorts of new initiatives have started to emerge. Yesterday Margaret Mytton seemed to be sending me an hourly email update as Edward's plans began to take wing. First an opportunity to show Dave Pearson's series of drawings and other works on paper based on The Book of Revelation at The House of the Nobleman in Richmond, in a show associated with the Frieze Art Fair in conjunction with Victoria Golembiovskava, Curator of the House of the Nobleman.  These were given by Dave to Margaret and she has hoped for some time to be able to show the previously unseen work comprising well over 200 drawings, gouaches and watercolours. This exhibition will be a wonderful curtain-raiser for the Bermondsey show too.

Then Vic Allen, the Art Curator at the Dean Clough Galleries got in touch with Margaret as a result of Edward's contacts. There is now a real likelihood of an opportunity to show a version of the London show at these wonderful galleries in Halifax. Finally, Edward has both found a sponsor for a poetry award associated with a poetry competition and is discussing the idea of commissioning a piece of music, both around the theme of Byzantium (remembering of course the common source in Yeat's poem) and tying these events in with the opening of the London show - all in a year's time.

I had a discussion about these events with Margaret last night. We're both very, very excited about what has happened so rapidly after the launch of the film. Much of the credit must go to Edward Lucie-Smith championing Dave's work, of course, as well as Derek Smith's excellent and moving film. We had wondered 'what next?' after the film, but we've hardly had time to draw breath when all sorts of roads are now opening up under our feet.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Off to the launch of 'To Byzantium' - and afterwards

I'm just about to set off to Manchester's Cornerhouse cinema for the launch of Derek Smith's film about Dave Pearson, the film commissioned by the Trust and the result of over a years filming and editing. I've already seen the film, of course, but am really looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. Some screen grabs from the film below... 

Four in the afternoon, and it's over. What a lovely morning; more than a 100 people at the Cornerhouse screening and all seemingly unanimous in the feeling that Derek's film is a tremendous achievement. It combines an informative approach to the story of Dave's life, with a heartfelt and ultimately very emotional story of his final years, while at the same time giving plenty of exposure to Dave's wonderful work. Derek described it, tellingly, as "a film about friendship".

Lots of the audience hadn't met one another for years, so there was also a great feeling of stories being told, reminiscences shared, and the simple pleasure of old friends meeting up. The group were family, neighbours, friends, ex-colleagues, college people, buyers of Dave's work, and ex-students, with many falling into more than one category. 

Margaret and Derek gave a short introduction; I captured some of it on film, and afterwards we all retired across the road to the Palace Hotel to swap more stories, plan futures, and eat pastries.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Julian has his work cut out.

Julian (of the See Gallery) and I spent a few hours in Dave's old studio yesterday making some decisions on what new pieces to display for next weekend's Open Studio event. 

Of course most of the studio is crammed with thousands of paintings and drawings and isn't a showing space in the normal sense of the word. But we do have one downstairs room, and an upper landing/corridor that provide something like gallery conditions. 

We decided that we should give the whole place a makeover since, broadly, the same paintings have been given prominence since we restored the building at the end of 2009. Only when a piece has been sold have I added a new painting to the display areas. Julian has also had several of the works on paper mounted and framed - these were mainly done by Dave in his last years. They look really wonderful and most have never been seen before.

There's an added urgency as the writer and critic Edward Lucie-Smith is travelling up from London tomorrow (in order to be present at Sunday's launch of the To Byzantium film) and he'll take a trip out to Haslingden for his first look at Dave's work in the flesh. So it makes sense to have the hanging finished, or as close to being finished as is possible, by the end of the day. Julian has his work cut out.