An extraordinary exhibition of paintings by the popular St Ives artist Bryan Pearce (1929–2007), whose particular experiences of his hometown were captured with unique clarity. Pearce’s artistic developments, his simple renditions of space, colour and light, evolve from a sophisticated understanding of composition. Celebrating a career which spanned over fifty years, the exhibition draws together works from private and public collections to evoke a serene sense of place, which seems at once personal yet archetypal.
His regular walks around St Ives, where he has lived all his life, have been the inspiration for his subject matter, unconsciously recording the town’s subtle changes. In this synthesis of imagination and reality, Pearce paints the world as he commands it; a sanctuary with an ever-present sun, bathing the streets and houses in the subtlest of colour harmonies. He has always worked slowly, but consistently, producing perhaps twelve oil paintings a year. Often compared to Alfred Wallis, the late Peter Lanyon said of him: 'Because his sources are not seen with a passive eye, but are truly happenings, his painting is original.'
Pearce was born in St Ives, Cornwall, a sufferer of the then unknown condition Phenylketonuria, which affects the normal development of the brain. Encouraged by his mother, who was herself a painter, and then by other St Ives artists, he began drawing and painting in watercolours in 1953.
Recognised as one of the country's foremost living ‘naïve’ painters, through the on-going re-examination of familiar views and landmarks, Pearce offers us his profound, extraordinary experience of St Ives.