Forbes: CCA Alum Anthony Pearson Creates An Art Sanctuary In New Exhibit

Work of art by Anthony PearsonAnthony Pearson, 'Untitled (Embedment)' (2017)

Living in the era of Donald Trump, people try to attach political analysis to all manner of art forms: film, literature, fashion and contemporary art are all viewed through the lens of fascism and demagoguery. Political art can be potent, of course, but it can also be reductive, mere sloganeering posing as fine art. Those kinds of simplistic political art gestures make one long for something more abstract, vague, and contemplative, whether it be the ancient geometric forms of Donald Judd or the opaque and cold beauty of Mark Rothko.

Though having little to do with those artists in practice or product, the recent work of Los Angeles-based contemporary artist Anthony Pearson effects the viewer in a similar, subliminal manner. To understand Pearson’s work is to sit with it, contemplate it, and engage with it. His experiments in gypsum and, more recently, hydrocal and etched plaster offer no reward to passive viewers. There is no gratifying easily digestible political slogan, just a deep well of subconscious beauty.

His work need not announce itself as important art work, because those that are willing to truly look at it can discern that all on their own. “To me it’s a political act in itself to refuse to make work that is easily reproducible, that isn’t based in pop or blatantly imagistic,” says Pearson. “I’m dealing with surfaces. Not sculpture. Not painting. Not illusionistic space. I’m dealing with textural space where the slowing down of things can be helpful, especially to digital natives that are so absorbed in image-culture. I’m looking for a sanctuary from that kind of experience.”

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