1958, Sweden/USA

Also known as: MP

Birth 1958
Lived & Active In 1986, New York, USA

Part poet, part journalist, Mats Pehrson looks at the world with an eye towards life’s contradictions. While he can paint sublimely lovely scenes, he sets out instead to capture the tensions that teem all around us. “Every day there is a struggle for life,” states Pehrson, “and that contention is reflected in my work.”

Accordingly, the artist has enlisted collage as his medium of choice. Pehrson uses collage to its best advantage, to stage a range of startling juxtapositions. Whereas collage usually entails “found” imagery, Pehrson makes his found images, personally taking all the photographs that populate his work. Having captured the ripe moment or telling fragment, he then composes these photos into a visual crescendo. Transferred onto canvas or aluminum, the layered images are further vitalized through various other media, including oil, acrylic, charcoal, gesso, cement, shellac, and sand.

Pehrson’s evolution toward such pictorial complexity was gradual. Born in Sweden, he has remained responsive to his changing surroundings, absorbing and reflecting his environs. The Nordic Light of Pehrson’s native land no doubt illuminates the radiant passages within his paintings. A residency in Spain in the late 1990s resulted in the “Signs and Symbols” series, which reflects the influence of Catalan art, especially the boldly suggestive work of Antoni Tàpies. The artist‘s various travels continue to feed his art, but since 1986, when he moved to New York City, this urban landscape has been his key inspiration and graphic source.
After 2000, Pehrson shifted from largely abstract paintings to increasingly photo-based works. Arranging multiple images like a visual symphony, he develops inharmonious, even cacophonous, effects. Billboards and Buddhas, hookers and Hasids, guns and young girls, all jostle together in his paintings, just as they do on the city streets. Beholding his work is like watching a surreal documentary, as you are confronted with the raw facts of life’s strange splendor.

Pehrson has a distinct iconographic language with his own recurring motifs. His talent as a painter imbues his works with a lush fullness and rich color tonality. And Pehrson’s understanding of pictorial space allows him to produce a striking sense of depth.

While Pehrson may have strong social views, these are not message paintings; they are more riddles than aphorisms. This lack of resolve is by design. By granting room for individual interpretation, Pehrson seeks to “provide viewers with the opportunity to deepen their response” to a given subject. Seducing with cinematic splendor and painterly delight, Pehrson lures us towards a new appreciation of life’s complexity. His paintings remind us that experience itself is a collage of shifting fragments, held together by our own sense of beauty and order.


Mats Pehrson

föddes i Sverige 1958.
Han har bott och arbetat i New York sedan 1986. Hans konst har regelbundet ställts ut i både New York och Stockholm. Mats har utbildat sig på School of Visual Arts och Parson School of Design i New York.

Mats Pehrson kombinerar foto och målning med en speciell teknik. Han använder sina egna bilder som han överför på aluminium, duk, betong och papper, och som han sedan målar på med olika tekniker.
Han inspireras av det vardagliga livet på gatorna i New York. Det kan ses som en samtida social dokumentation av staden. Mats fortsätter sin ständiga jakt, på intressanta scener från New York, med sin kamera.

Solo shows
September 2007 Galleri Eklund Wallmark, Stockholm February 2007 Sthlm Art Fair
September 2006 Stadsmuseet / Ahlbergshallen, Östersund April 2006 Galleri Eklund Wallmark, Stockholm
October 2005 Brunogallerian, Stockholm
June 2004 Hotel Rival, Stockholm
May 2003 Galleri Bergman, Stockholm
August 2002 Galleri Bergman, Stockholm
November 2001 Carlo Alessi Galleri, New York, USA
April 2001 Galleri Bergman, Stockholm
March 2001 Galleri Asur, Oslo, Norway
March 2000 Galleri Bergman, Stockholm
November 1999 Noho Gallery, New York, USA
June 1999 Galleri Bergman, Stockholm
November 1997 Noho Gallery, New York, USA
October 1996 Roger Smith Gallery, New York, USA
January 1996 Noho Gallery, New York, USA
February 1995 Tunnel Gallery, New York, USA
August 1993 AKA Bar and Gallery, New York, USA

Group shows in selection
December 2004 Snake Show Gallery,
New York, USA
April 2003 Texas National 2003, Nacogdoches, USA
March 2002 Stockholm Art Fair
September 2001 Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm
December 1999 Hotel Hilton,Berlin, Germany