Anthony Pearson

Renowned for his inventive processes and sensitive approach to materials, Anthony Pearson (b. 1969, Los Angeles, CA) has built a body of work that exudes an intimate, poetic certitude. Through ongoing experimentation with the formal and technical limits of his chosen materials, he has developed a singular visual vocabulary, rooted in abstraction, that interrogates the balances of positive and negative, light and dark, control and chance. Working seamlessly across an ambitious range of media that includes photography, drawing, installation, and sculpture, Pearson elevates the intrinsic qualities of his materials, yielding an understated and unexpectedly poetic oeuvre. 


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Pearson earned a BFA from California College of the Arts and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles—and his distinctly West Coast practice sits comfortably within the legacy of California modernism. Throughout the course of his career, Pearson has moved fluidly between mediums—from the abstract photography of his early practice to the sculptural work in which he is currently engaged. Yet, for the artist, these practices are inextricably linked: the concerns at the heart of his practice—his attention to materiality, to form, to the interplay of shadow and light, of positive and negative space—remain the same across media. For Pearson, curator Alex Klein writes, “the natural environment of the Palisades was a site of endless childhood discovery, and its earth tones and Mediterranean atmosphere would come to shape an aesthetic sensibility attuned to the dynamic subtleties of the Southern California landscape.”


Throughout his practice, Pearson emphasizes a deep intellectual and physical engagement with his chosen materials, endlessly exploring the behaviors, reactions, and open possibilities of these media. His meditative, labor-intensive approach is evident in the work itself, which varyingly absorbs, reflects, and refracts light, responding with specificity to the environment in which it is presented and creating a distinct sensation of place. Understated and unassuming—yet deeply felt—Pearson’s practice insists on disrupting the frenzied state of our world; it is a welcome moment of respite and contemplation. In this work, the pleasure is found in the experience of close looking.


Pearson’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO and Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis, MN. His work has also been featured in institutional group exhibitions, including Tantric drawings: sites of transformation, Drawing Room, London, UK, and Peninsula Arts, Plymouth University, Plymouth, UK; L.A. Exuberance: New Gifts by Artists, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; The Sun Placed in the Abyss, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH; Variations: Conversations in and Around Abstract Paintings, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; second nature: abstract photography then and now at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA; The Anxiety of Photography, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO; and Arthouse at the Jones Center, Austin, TX. Pearson’s work is included in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. Pearson lives and works in Los Angeles.