Thursday, July 3, 2008

Artist Studios - 7

Ben Pearce Sculptures. Top left:"Sam"; bottomleft:"Morris"; Bottom Right:"Hamish & Henriette."
In the making of his highly tactile, often toy-like wooden sculptures, Napier artist, Ben Pearce wonders if he might be “living out his frustrated childhood” – a childhood characterised by a fascination with the discovery of things and how they worked. In the absence of the toys he hankered after he often made his own. Today his silky wooden chrysalis forms are imbued with individual personalities, their little appendages, springs and ‘speakers’ swelling up with unspoken words and imaginings. And they have names – human names - like Sam, Morris, Hamish and Henriette, which doesn’t come as any real surprise when you learn that Ben has named the family cat Barry. When I visited Ben in his wood-filled home studio- complete with lathe, a craftsman’s tools, a million wooden off-cuts and sweet-smelling wood shavings - he was engrossed in the making of, what seemed to me, some sort of other-worldly fantasy city – an ever-expanding labyrinthine creation that threatened to take over his work space.

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