What is being given attention and what is being neglected?
What belongs, and what is out-of-place?
What is in the front yard, and—more interestingly—what is out back?
Behind the subject matter lie my abiding interests in the formal qualities of texture, composition, and light.
INVISIBLE VALLEY – John Pearson
Exhibit: June 5 to July 31, 2020
Since late 2015 John Pearson has been working primarily in polymer photogravure, an intaglio printmaking process in which photo images are transferred to photosensitive plates.
In 2016 he was an artist in residence at the North Dakota Museum of Art’s McCanna House. Images captured during that time make up the series “Invisible Valley.”
“I’m drawn to subject matter in which the man-made world rubs against the natural environment.”
He has photos and prints in business and private collections around the Twin Cities, and his photography appears at the Minnesota History Center where it is incorporated into exhibits and hangs in public spaces. Pearson presently has prints available at Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis.
Read his full bio at johnpearsonstudio.com
The Red River Valley of the North is a rich agricultural region that buffers the border between Minnesota and North Dakota. The landscape is so broad and flat, and the descent into the valley so gradual, that, upon arrival, a person has no sensation of being in a valley at all.
In June, 2016, Pearson spent two weeks photographing this region as a guest of the North Dakota Museum of Art’s McCanna House Artist-in-Residence Program. This was a homecoming of sorts; he had lived in Crookston, Minnesota for several years after he graduated from art school.
“Invisible Valley” presents a selection from the hundreds of photos he gathered as he explored the region’s towns, fields, and wild places both in the Valley and nearby.
The resulting photos reveal his persistent fascination with how people establish their place in the environment. What is being given attention and what is being neglected? What belongs, and what is out-of-place? What is in the front yard, and—more interestingly—what is out back? Behind the subject matter lie his abiding interests in the formal qualities of texture, composition, and light.
The residency coincided with his adoption of a new medium of expression: polymer photogravure printmaking. This approach allows Pearson to combine his interests in photography and printmaking. A polymer plate yields a softer, more tactile image than other contemporary photo printing processes. Building upon this intrinsic surface quality, in this series he’s applied traditional intaglio techniques to maximize the expressive potential of the medium. This includes using more than a single ink color on a plate, layering plates of different colors, and printing plates adjacent to one another to expand an image beyond the original digital capture.