Ben Pearce is based in Hawke’s Bay, on the East Coast of the North Island, but in truth he inhabits a slightly different, distinctly more magical realm. Pearce is fascinated by the miraculous divide that exists within us all — between our interior and exterior selves
— that allows us to simultaneously inhabit two different worlds. He is interested in ideas around the energy of objects; how in some cultures objects can protect or even contain a spiritual presence.
Throughout his practice Pearce seeks out the odd and unlikely, transposing domestic objects and everyday experiences into works that capture the wonder and imaginative potency of childhood, as well as the unreliable and transmutable nature of memory. Comprised of wood, metal, stone or found objects, his sculptures appear as naive structures or architectural experiments, as they do mysterious objects or vestiges from some other time and place.
Pearce’s practice is made up of a series of experiments of one kind or another; he investigates materials to explore notions of construction, memory and imagination. The intricately carved moon craters on Pearce’s brass rods evoke miniature lunar landscapes. Here is the artist references the phenomenon of hypnagogic hallucinations that can occur in that transitional state between consciousness and sleep; where familiar people, places and things can become alien, even threatening.
A fascination with the duality of objects also informs his work. “I really like Donald Judd’s furniture work. It’s not really furniture, it’s not really art. It occupies and acts within a strange place.” His rods to play with the divide between the functional and decorative to create a perfect tension between the utilitarian object and its status as an artwork.