Steven Pearson is the Joan Develin Coley Chair in Creative Expression and the Arts and Professor of Studio Art at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland where he has been teaching studio art courses since 2004. He is also Chair of the Art and Art History Department. From 2005-present he served as the director of the college’s Esther Prangley Rice Gallery, an exhibition space for McDaniel students and other emerging contemporary artists from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.
Pearson was born in Johnstown, NY. Upon graduation from High School, he served honorably in the United States Navy. Pearson then received his bachelor of science in studio art from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, and his master of fine arts in painting from the Leroy E. Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. During his training at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, Pearson’s work focused primarily on narrative figuration. After graduation, he painted still lifes, investigating the formal and conceptual nature of everyday objects. By appropriating formal compositional devices explored by modern and contemporary artists—such as Kazimir Malevich, Ad Reinhardt, Donald Judd, and Jules Olitski—Pearson constructed still lifes using commonplace objects, including cardboard boxes and paper lunch bags. While he was a resident at the Vermont Studio Center in 2003, Pearson’s work became increasingly abstract, while remaining committed to exploring the still life genre. During a residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois in 2005, Pearson’s work further evolved to become, essentially, nonobjective. Throughout the various shifts in Pearson’s painting styles, order and structure provides the connecting thread in his development, echoing his early experiences in the Navy.