Rodney Ewing and Tahiti Pehrson “What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next)”

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Rodney Ewing and Tahiti Pehrson “What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next)”

Oct 14 — Dec 10, 2020

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Nancy Toomey Fine Art is pleased to announce, in partnership with The Space Program San Francisco, an exhibition of collaborative works by Rodney Ewing and Tahiti Pehrson titled What Kind of Cool (Will We Think of Next), on view from October 14 to December 10, 2020. The gallery is located inside San Francisco’s Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street. The public is invited to visit the gallery by appointment–please contact or 415-307-9038.

Rodney Ewing and Tahiti Pehrson, while working independently on public art pieces, have considered collaborating ever since bonding over the Isley Brothers’ song “For the Love of You.” Initially, they were scheduled to work together in residence onsite at The Space Program San Francisco, but shelter-in-place offered a new challenge. Instead, the artists created their part of the project and mailed it to each other to work on from a distance.


As Rodney Ewing and Tahiti Pehrson began their residency, they never imagined the significance of their partnership. Initially, quarantine brought isolation and inaccessibility to materials. The rules of engagement changed and developed with the ongoing pandemic. They began to formulate their creations according to the materials at hand. Tahiti Pehrson began making new pieces with works that he had already begun in his studio, while Rodney Ewing had been making a piece every day-and-a-half in response to COVID-19. Now, instead of finishing their own works, they sent the pieces partially completed to the other, a new way of making art for both of them. The half tones of Ewing’s historical portraits changed as he contemplated the dimensionality and complexity of Pehrson’s cuts to paper. As the process and shape of the collaboration developed, George Floyd’s murder changed the artists’ narratives and intentions.
The global social event of Black Lives Matter brought an unanticipated poignancy to Ewing and Pehrson’s project. The inevitable questions that arise in any artistic process took hold—what is my place in this, how do I subscribe meaning to these events? The powerful historical documentation of Ewing’s work took on new resonance with the fragile, ethereal overlay of Pehrson’s meticulous dissection of paper. Through two radically different approaches to subject and process, a new meaning emerges; compression and expansion offer a direct link to content. These artists have come together to create, with unmistakable intentionality and meaning, tour de force works both poetic and potent.

Based in San Francisco, Rodney Ewing creates drawings, installations, and mixed media works that focus on his need to intersect body and place, memory and fact to re-examine human histories, cultural conditions, and events. Ewing received his BFA in Printmaking from Louisiana State University and his MFA in Printmaking at West Virginia University. With his work he is pursuing a narrative that requires us to be present and intimate. His art has been exhibited at Euphrat Museum of Art in Cupertino, The Drawing Center in New York, and at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. He has been an artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s Recology and the de Young Museum of Fine Arts, as well as Djerassi in Woodside, California, Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin, and Bemis Center for the Arts in Omaha, Nebraska.


Tahiti Pehrson is a Northern Californian artist with long ties to the Bay Area. His recent work explores the fragility and interconnectedness expressed by physical structures. Large scale installations of geometrical hand-cut paper are layered into three-dimensional structures. Pehrson has been working in paper for nearly fifteen years. Born in 1972 to artist parents in Santa Rosa, California, Pehrson began early life as a painter. Like many painters, he wanted to imitate light in such a way as to capture it. After traveling to Mexico, China and the museums of Europe in search of art, he moved to San Francisco to follow in the footsteps of his father by attending art school in the Bay Area. At the San Francisco Art Institute, Pehrson found himself increasingly disillusioned with painting as he was exposed to new ideas and modes of working. In reaction, he sought to “drop-out” of art and work in the streets with stickers and stencil making–a process that would evolve into a more developed and dedicated practice of paper-cutting, and also beginning a new process of public engagement.