Born in the great open spaces of Australia, Kevin Pearsh has always explored new horizons of colour and light. A seasoned traveller, he sets up his easel like a photographer looking through a viewfinder. With a keen sense of observation and working in close-up, he focuses on his subject but always give us a feeling for what surrounds it. In this exhibition he has journeyed along the Ganges, from the high Himalayas to the Gulf of Bengal: a sacred river full of contrast, whose waters are by turns hostile and benevolent. The artist turns his gaze towards the natural environment, to the landscape, and human presences, though he does not show their faces, preferring to paint human figures from the back, showing the nape of the neck, a mane of hair, or their rippling reflection in the water. “Man has no harbour, time no shore; it flows on, and on we pass!” (1)
Kevin Pearsh’s chromatic range is exceptionally fine, taking inspiration from the subtle hues of saris (pink, orange and red), bags of spices (saffron, cinnamon and coriander). His paintings shimmer with all-embracing light. With great lightness of touch, these vibrant canvases reflect not only outward appearances but also something closer to the soul. Though they seek to evoke aesthetic beauty, they are never mannered or ostentatious. Pearsh remains close to the people he paints, in a natural, uncomplicated way. These scenes of ordinary life are springboards for the imagination: as we look at them, we recreate space n our minds, and our feelings free themselves from the world around us. The milling crowd is far away: tiny moving characters or solitary figures lost in contemplation. The vertical-format canvases seem to follow on from each other like stills from a movie scene: a frame a second. Moving from one to another, fading in and fading out, we discover new horizons stretching languorously before us...
All is calm, bathed in the soft aura reflected in the sky-blue or ice-blue waters of the river. Reflections resurface, struggling against the down-current of our own meditation. In this distorting mirror – an eddying reconstitution of the self - the traveller (or the viewer) gradually returns to material existence. At last the Indian daylight fades, leaving us in harmony with ourselves…until the next river crossing.
For 30 years Kevin Pearsh’s elegant paintings have delighted art lovers all over the world. His work can be found in private collections and major galleries such as the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Santa Barbara, and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge.
(1) Le Lac, Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869).
Brian Elliott Rowe and Jane Peck were delighted to showcase the work of Australian painter Kevin Pearsh from 1 to 30 June 2009 at Galerie BE-Espace. The visitors were invited to explore the meandering life and vibrant hues of the Ganges as seen by this adventurous explorer of colour. The exhibition was placed under the high patronage of His Excellency Mr David Ritchie Australian Ambassador to France.