Holly Pearce has created artwork in a range of materials including photography, performance, digital media, textiles, paint, sculpture, screen-printing and costume that explores humanity’s dark ‘shadow’; her imagery referencing aspects of mysticism, the occult, magic, voodoo, shamanism, and ancient feminist mythology.
Pearce holds a Master Degree of Contemporary Art from VCA (Victoria College of the Arts), a Bachelor Degree in Textile Design from RMIT (Screen Printing) and an Advanced Diploma of Performance from National Theatre Drama School (Acting/Theatre), and a Dip Ed (Art) from Melbourne University.
‘The shadow is the invisible saurian tail that man still drags behind him. Carefully amputated, it becomes the healing serpent of the mysteries.’ (Carl Jung)
The concept of the shadow is central to Pearce’s artistic practice, reflecting her fascination with the mysterious, creative and layered concept of the human psychological shadow or shadow aspect. Her sometimes naïve and/or flowing figurative ‘shadow’ manifestations appear as wall installations, sculptural work or on shiny reflective surfaces. The amorphous repeated shapes can loom large whilst possessing an inscrutable but comforting presence, like a bewitching tattoo or ancient stamp that has seeped silently into the conscious world. It is said that whilst the shadow within us can remain unconscious there is also gold in the shadow and special gifts are bestowed upon us for bringing our shadow into light.
Pearce uses glossy or mirrored surfaces to allow us to simultaneously observe the creative shapes of her shadow imaginings whilst being unable to avoid our own reflection. She is referencing the unconscious projection of our individual or collective shadow as a constant existential happening. Influenced by Jungian theory and much written work on the subject of the psychological shadow, Pearce visually picks apart the idea of a shadow aspect with boldly graphic artwork.
Heavily influenced by pattern, textiles, colour and costume, Pearce also works with digital drawing, screen-printing and photography. Self-portraits are layered with digital manipulations creating bejeweled and sometimes beastly figures. The focus of the work celebrates shape shifting and magic as a reaction to the reductionism of the human condition in modern day society. These shamanic figures, frozen within a liminal space and often accompanied or protected by magical talismanic shapes, are imaginative representations of other worlds and realms connected to ritual, tribal culture and ancestral lineage.
2016 Masters of Contemporary Art – VCA
2005 Diploma of Education – University of Melbourne
2000 Bachelor of Arts (Textile Design) RMIT
2000 Advanced Diploma (3yr) Acting & Theatre – National Theatre St Kilda
1993 Diploma of Art & Design – Brighton Bay Art & Design College
EXHIBITIONS & PROJECTS
2018 Undercurrents – Flinders Lane Gallery (group)
2017 Exploration17 – Flinders Lane Gallery (group)
2017 Shamanic – Go Go Art Series (solo)
2016 VCA Masters Exhibition – Victorian College of the Arts (group)
2014 Parking Lot VCA – Student Gallery VCA
2008 Place Gallery – Richmond (group)
2007 White Room – St Kilda (group)
2005 Collingwood Gallery (group)
2003 Metropol – St Kilda (solo)
1992 National Gallery of Victoria (Award)
2003 Natural Elements – Director/Costume designer- Vic Arts Centre
2002 Corps – Performer – La Mama Theatre
2001 As you like it – Performer – National Theatre
2000 Tiger At The Gates – Performer – National Theatre
2000 Boys Life – Performer – National Theatre
1999 Antigone – Performer/Costume designer – National Theatre