NZ House & Garden: Hawke’s Bay Sculptor Ben Pearce Switches Scale
Hawke’s Bay sculptor Ben Pearce finds inspiration in science, psychology and history. “When I was young my mum Wendy was studying psychology and I used to read her study books. That opened my eyes to the functions of memory and made me think a lot about how my own mind worked.”
Lately he’s been working with bronze, carving it by hand using a jeweller’s dremel. “It’s an extremely slow way to work.” Influenced by sculptors such as Louise Bourgeois, Henry Moore, Donald Judd and Ricky Swallow, Ben finds that occasionally working with other craftspeople enriches his projects. Currently he’s developing a series of large outdoor works in corten steel. “They are really pushing my skills with metal. They start as maquettes [scale models] that are modelled on a computer then recreated into metal like giant jigsaws. With these works I’m playing with hidden strengthening so I can create forms that feel precarious but are actually very strong. I like working on multiple projects and series, though – I’ve just made a series of 12 cast bronze monkeys for a recent show.”
You can see Ben’s work through Parlour Projects in Hastings, Milford Galleries in Dunedin and Bartley and Company Art in Wellington. Later in the year he is planning an installation, Life Will Go On Long After Money, at The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatū in Nelson.