Alan Pearson

Aotearoa New Zealand / England, b.1929, d.2019

Self Portrait

  • 1980
  • Oil on canvas
  • Purchased 1986
  • 740 x 640 x 35mm
  • 86/36

This self portrait, one of several painted by Pearson throughout his career, reflects the artist's interest in the individual and in humanity. By responding intellectually and emotionally to his subject, in this case himself, he evokes a very strong sense of character and spirit. Having once described portraiture as, "a dialogue the asking and showing of who we are", Pearson confronts the viewer with a watchful and challenging gaze. Reflecting his awareness of New Zealand art traditions and his identification with the environment, he depicts himself within a distinctively New Zealand landscape. The characteristically fluid and expressive brushstrokes tend towards abstraction as the freshness of the paint and colour create a portrait which is emotionally charged and alive with energy.