Simon Pierse was born in London in 1956. He studied at the Slade School of Fine Art and was a lecturer at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University between 1992-2016. He was elected an associate of the Royal Watercolour Society in 2003, became a full member in 2007 and served as the society’s Vice President between 2009-12. In 2018 he was elected an honorary member of the Australian Watercolour Institute. He is currently Hon. Keeper of Pictures at the Alpine Club and, previously, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2013-20). Simon currently divides his time between mid-Wales and the Kent coast.
Simon Pierse exhibits regularly at Bankside Gallery, next to Tate Modern on London’s South Bank. His work is represented in a number of public and private collections, including London University; the National Library of Wales; Aberystwyth University; Museo della Carta e della Filigrana, Fabriano; Heritage Malta; La Trobe University, Melbourne; Dunmoochin Foundation, Melbourne; Qingdao Art Museum, China and the Royal Collection.
Much of Simon Pierse’s work focuses on landscape. In interview, he has spoken about his longstanding attraction to barrenness and desolation – what he terms ’empty landscape’. Being in the desert or the mountains, he says, brings, not only a sense of solitude, but also a feeling of re-connection with the physical body and its relationship with the world we are a part of.
With other members of the Royal Watercolour Society, Simon Pierse has been a participant in various themed exhibitions, books and film projects. In 2007, a group of RWS artists was invited to Maharashtra to paint alongside Indian artists and to hold a collaborative exhibition. In 2009, Simon was one of four artists in a film project, directed and produced by independent filmmaker Steve Gammond. Janet Treloar RWS FRGS invited Jenny Wheatley RWS NEAC, Paul Newland RWS NEAC and Simon Pierse to use her clifftop home in southwest Cornwall as a base from which to paint en plein air in Newlyn and Lamorna Cove where they were joined by Richard Sorrell PPRWS NEAC. Two films: The Open Sky, and The Sunshine Painters, explore their painting practice as the continuation of a long history of painters coming to Cornwall to paint in during the late 19th-early 20th centuries.
Simon Pierse is currently Honorary Keeper of Pictures at the Alpine Club. Established in 1857, the Alpine Club has a world-class collection of paintings, prints and photographs, including several watercolours of Alpine subjects by John Ruskin, who was a member. These were given to the club by the veteran Everest climber Dr Charles Warren, who was a previous Keeper of Pictures. Simon Pierse is the author of a book and several articles on mountain art, including Kangchenjunga, imaging a Himalayan mountain, published in 2005.
If you would like an invitation to Simon Pierse’s next exhibition, or simply want to find out more about his work as a painter, drop him a line, using the contact form below.