Postmodern Memory Lane

By BaltimoreStyle

“Once a Jester” and “Eating Fish While Bowling for Spirituality” (acrylic on 48-by-48 panel)

In his 20 years as a painter, Steven Pearson has transitioned from figurative painting to still life and, finally, to abstraction. According to the associate professor at McDaniel College, this evolution’s pretty atypical. “I have students who jump into abstraction and they just become abstract artists,” says the 46-year-old Westminster resident, who keeps a studio in Baltimore. “I learned to paint traditionally and then worked my way toward abstraction.”

Already a fan of tracing his paintings to make sleeker and shinier copies, Pearson decided to sift through two decades of different painting styles and derive an intuitive equation. He traced multiple paintings, combined and reconfigured them to create entirely new, colorful compositions that are on display in “Self-Reflection,” his solo exhibition at School 33 Art Center through March 22. 

Pearson says for him these postmodern pieces work like a memory game. He’s intrigued when he spies fragments of his old still life paintings alive in the new creations. “I can tell in one painting, for example, a certain element came from a still life of paper bags,” says Pearson, who consciously picked the parts of the painting that felt most important to him when laying down the tracing paper on each past work. “That relates to anybody’s memory—remembering things in fragments and things most important to us.”

Was the process always easy? No, he confides. “There were a lot of paintings thrown in garbage bins to get to this point.”

See more of Steven Pearson’s work at

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