McPherson was born in Wichita, Kansas. He studied at the University of Kansas, receiving a BFA degree in 1970 after which he was employed by the National Endowment for the Arts as a lecturer and curator. In 1975 he moved to New York and began to pursue his own career as an artist. Over time he developed skills in a range of formats and media, notably as a painter of murals and a printmaker.
Between 1987 and 1992 McPherson worked on one of the largest mural commissions for the Headquarters of American Express at the World Financial Centre in New York featuring ‘The Bridges and Waterways of New York’ and ‘Harbours of the World’.
For his printmaking he mastered the classical skill of mezzotint, a form of print which renders subtle variations of tone which McPherson uses to produce dramatic and atmospheric images of modern cities and industrial landscapes. In 1998 an exhibition of his mezzotints was mounted at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University and subsequently shown at the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow and the Mary Ryan Gallery in New York.
His work is included in many of the most important public collections in America, the UK and elsewhere.