Cadenza by Alan Pearson


Alan Pearson

14 March to 09 April 2023

Sanderson are pleased to present the exhibition Cadenza – a major exhibition of works by the late artist Alan Pearson.

As the pandemic began to sweep the globe in 2020 Pearson had passed away at the age of ninety. Due to the social and political turmoil at the time the artist’s life was not celebrated the way it should have been.

For over sixty years the British-born artist was one of the outstanding proponents of pure painting in Aotearoa. His works are densely complex, restlessly explorative and remain true to the ethos of New Zealand Neo-Expressionism; alive with gesture, emotion and insight.

In an artistic climate still clinging to nationalism-as-landscape; Pearson’s training at the University of Canterbury’s School of Fine Arts coincided with the arrival of the Lithuanian artist and educator Rudi Gopas in 1959 and placed Pearson in context with other expressionist artists including Philip Clairmont, Tony Fomison, and Allen Maddox.

Pearson was a singer, dancer and poet but painting was the means through which he displayed his true talents, and it was this medium through which he transferred his love of musical rhythm, harmony and drama.

Cadenza is a musical term, describing a passage in a piece of music that allows the soloist or virtuoso to shine. To an expressionist like Alan Pearson, for whom music was a constant companion in the studio, each canvas was a cadenza. He associated musical ideas and language with his artistic endeavours and said “to paint is to hear the molecules sing…”

Cadenza is a major exhibition featuring more than fifteen works from the artists lifetime including several significant works from his time spent in Italy, a self-portrait painted while in London and a portrait of fellow artist Colin McCahon.

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