Gene Pearson, born in 1946 in St. Catherine, Jamaica, is a 1965 Graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. He taught at several high schools in Jamaica and also the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. He has exhibited widely both locally and internationally including at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and UC Berkeley in Berkeley California.
His work is represented in films, Publications and leading corporate and private collections internationally including the private collections of celebrities in California and other parts of the USA like Stevie Wonder, Singer/Musician, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California and actor, Alice Walker, author of the Book and Movie "Colour Purple" and others. He has completed commissions for several local hotels, including Swept Away Hotel and Grand Lido Hotel. He was interviewed on the tv program "Black Renaissance" aired on Channel 44 for his 1991 and 1993 exhibitions in California.
His work has been presented by successive Prime Ministers as gifts to several foreign dignitaries, including Heads of States and other celebrities. Beneficiaries of his work included; Leonid Breshnev of the Soviet Union, Prime Minister Phan Van Dong of Vietnam, President Lopez Portillo of Mexico, Mr. Taba Marouf Vice President of Iraq, Mr. David Rockefeller President of Chase Manhattan bank of New York USA, President Nelson Mandella of South Africa, Ms. Roberta Flack Singer/ Musician, Ms. Maya Angelou renowned American Poet and Author and President Bill Clinton of the USA.
His work appears on the Jamaican $1.40 stamp released on 26th April 1993 depicting "Jamaica Ceramics" from the Hardingham Collection. In March 21, 2001 he was awarded the "Hall of Fame" Award For Excellence in the Field of Visual Arts and in 2006 he was given national honours in the rank of O.D. for distinguished performance in the Arts. In October 2010, he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal in the field of Arts by the Institute of Jamaica. Over the years his exhibitions have received critical acclaim.
Gene Pearson shaped his legacy
BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
On March 15, the local visual arts scene lost one of its stalwarts with the passing of ceramist Gene Pearson.
The 73-year-old died at a Corporate Area hospital following a brief illness. He died two days after his ex-wife Jacquelyne Hussey-Pearson.
Born in Wood Hall, St Catherine, Pearson moved to Kingston in the early 1960s and was one of the first students of master potter Cecil Baugh at what would become the School of Art.
Art enthusiast and curator of the defunct Mutual Gallery Gilou Bauer said Pearson extended the meaning of sculpting by moving away from the traditional concepts of renowned British potter Bernard Leach.
“Gene came up with a more African expression in his work. This in itself led to thoughts on identity and nationalism. This was indeed a most important point in redefining the meaning of pottery and ceramics for local artists, who have undoubtedly been influenced by his work. This influence can be seen in shape and meaning of their work,” said Bauer.
She called for use of social media to keep a younger generation informed about contributions of greats such as Pearson.
“Unfortunately exhibitions, which offer greater exposure to artists, have become limited in the Jamaican space as there are not many commercial galleries in existence. It is therefore inevitable that we come up with new ideas to expose younger people to these masters. The use of social media is a great way of getting this across and educating on these masters in the fine arts and show how they have contributed,” Bauer noted.
Carol Hamilton, vice-principal at the School of Art at Edna Manley College, remembered Pearson from her days as a student. She said his demeanour made it comfortable for students to go to him for advice.
“He was such a stalwart. His quiet, soft-spoken nature made him so easy to talk to as a teacher. Then he was a superb ceramist. He broke the boundaries which existed at the time he started. Despite being the protégé of Cecil Baugh, he was determined to create his own identity in his work. This must have been difficult at a time when the arts was seen as just a hobby.
“But he showed that with consistency, persistence, one can become accomplished... this he certainly was,” Hamilton noted.
That commitment was also saluted by sculptor Basil Watson. He said it was Pearson and Christopher Gonzalez who ignited his own love affair with clay and sculpture.
“He was such an inspirational teacher and as a person, I can't say enough good things about this exceptional artist of our time. I would classify him as one of our greats. He was prolific and exemplified what it means to be a true artist. With all his international recognition he maintained his generosity of spirit. Young artistes can learn from Gene's dedication, strong work ethic, and his commitment to working and producing at the highest level.”
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Artists at Pickens Museum
- J. Chester Armstrong
- Bryant Baker
- Jolene Bird
- Robin Bray
- Barbara Chase Riboud
- Sergey Chernomorets
- Charles Cordier
- Jo Davidson
- Andrew Scott DeJesse
- Donald De Lue
- Roger Disney
- Yatika Starr Fields
- Espi Frazier
- John Dale Free
- John Free, Jr.
- Paul Gauguin
- Mitch Gyson
- Jeff Ham
- Robert Hardee
- Hugh Harrell Jr.
- K. Henderson
- Bri Hermanson
- Skip Hill
- Malvina Hoffman
- Allan Houser
- Patrick Dean Hubbell
- Oreland Joe
- Malvin Gray Johnson
- Rockwell Kent
- William Kilpatrick
- Tom Lea
- Becky Mannschreck
- John Manship
- Paul Manship
- Raoul Middleman
- Woodrow Nash
- Ed Natiya
- Clyde Otipoby
- Gene Pearson
- Pablo Picasso
- Daniel Pickens
- Erika Pochybova
- Charles Pratt
- Bill Rabbit
- Traci Rabbit
- Tanya Rafael
- Richard Recchia
- Faith Ringgold
- Josué Sánchez
- Fritz Scholder
- Stephen Schwark
- Isaac Shari
- Ralph Steadman
- Scott Storm
- Albert Wein
- C J Wells
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- Three Faces of the Pioneer Woman February 21, 2020
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- Exhibition: "Winter in New York" January 22, 2020
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- A 1949 Hudson Limousine August 29, 2018
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2015 and before
- Sculptor Bryant Baker's Lost Masterpiece November 3, 2015
- Pioneer Woman Models Come Home February 26, 2010
- Pioneer Woman Models Should Return to Ponca City July 13, 2007
About Pickens Museum