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Steve Pearson

I am Professor of Studio Art and Chair of the Art Department, where I have been teaching studio art courses since 2004. Since 2005, I have served as 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.

I was born in Johnstown, NY. Upon graduation from high school, I served honorably in the United States Navy. I then received my Bachelor of Science in studio art from The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, and my 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 my training at both the undergraduate and graduate level, my work focused primarily on narrative figuration. After graduation, I 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, I constructed still lifes using commonplace objects, including cardboard boxes and paper lunch bags.

While I was a resident at the Vermont Studio Center in 2003, my work became increasingly abstract, while remaining committed to exploring the still life genre. During a residency at the Ragdale Foundation in Illinois in 2005, my work further evolved to become, essentially, nonobjective. Throughout the various shifts in my painting styles, order and structure provide the connecting thread in my development, echoing my early experiences in the Navy.


M.F.A. in Painting, Leroy E. Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD
B.S. in Studio Art, The College of Saint Rose, Albany, NY
A.A. in Fine Art, Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY

Research Interests

  • Contemporary abstract and non-objective painting connection to narrative through composition, color, and media application.

  • Contemporary abstract and non-objective drawing focusing on the play between text and image.

  • I regularly present papers on current pedagogy related to foundation courses in drawing and design.

Recent Courses

  • FYS 1196: From Mark to Message: Drawing Now

  • ART 3306: Printmaking

  • ART 3317: Color in Art & Design

Selected Publications

Compulsory Measures, Curated by Reni Gower, 2019
  • International Museum of Arts and Sciences, McAllen, TX. December 22 - May 3, 2020.
  • The Art Museum, SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, NY. August 26-November 8, 2019.
  • Esther Prangley Rice Gallery, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD. January 31-March 1.

Multiple Temporalities, Layered Histories – A Post-Sabbatical Solo Show by Steven Pearson, Rice Gallery, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD. 2018

Extravagant Visions, Extraordinary Imaginings, curated by Erin Lehman, Director and J. Susan Isaacs, Curator of the Department of Art+Design Galleries, Center for the Arts Gallery, Towson University, Towson, MD. July 7-August 3, 2018.

Sketchbook Revisions 2014-15, featured in Multiple Temporalities, Layered Histories published in "Volume 6 Who, When, and Where: Art and Identification Across Borders of Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture." 2017.

Self Reflection, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD. 2015.

Awards and Honors

  • 2018-2012, 2010, 2007 Faculty Creativity Award, McDaniel College, Westminster, MD

  • 2013 Semifinalist for the Bethesda Painting Award, Bethesda, MD

  • 2012 Semifinalist for the Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize, Baltimore, MD

  • 2010 Individual Artis Grant-Painting, Maryland State Arts Council

Steve Pearson

"Thank you again for a great semester in Printmaking! I love traditional studio art and it was so much fun to get a chance to do it again. I especially enjoyed screen printing. You were so helpful and patient with all of us this semester, and no one could doubt that you care about your students and their success."

Lauren Beckjord '20 Studio Art (Graphic Design Track)