4 October – November 2016
Harrison Pearce is an emerging artist, living and working in London. His works come from autobiographical events and he draws from these to explore philosophical ideas, with an emphasis on the mind, body, language and experience.
Pearce’s solo show in the gallery, Intuition Loop, featured two large-scale sculptural installations and series of etchings. Intuition Pump 2016, is a kinetic work made from steel, latex, wood, pneumatics and a logic computer. The skin of the monoliths is made from latex rubber and when the machinery inside gets going the metallic appearance is betrayed. They perform a number of actions: they breathe like an enormous lung and inflate as though impregnated, one tips over whilst objects whip around inside the other, striking the rubber surface. The actions correspond to a program through which the two towers are in conversation so that the sequence is always changing. This piece plays with philosophical ideas about the mind-body problem, and was made in response to a medical misdiagnosis following CT and MRI scans of Pearce’s brain; he was told its morphology showed signs of ‘severe atrophy’ but, mercifully, this was a mistake. Nonetheless he lived with the belief that his mental faculties would soon diminish until further investigation alleviated that fear. This disturbing experience got Pearce thinking about contemporary belief systems and about how scientific or technological evidence can determine first-hand sensation. The prints, which accompany the sculptures, record the artist’s experience and refer to the visual language of medical scans, tracking some of his thoughts, feelings and ideas along the way. They are at once dark and foreboding as well as playful and inquisitive.
From the same stimulus, Mary 2016, is an installation made from a large weather balloon, rubber bands and a signal generator. The signal generator vibrates the rubber band at different frequencies, which travel to the balloon and cause it to behave in uncanny ways. It shifts from sounding mechanical to bodily and at times altogether otherworldly. The atmosphere also has an effect so that it is unpredictable, which makes it simultaneously comical and threatening.
Finally, Interruption 2017, was devised and made for his studio residency at Unit 1 Gallery | Workshop; it was exhibited in the group show, Cut, curated by Corridor Projects, and is based on more recent work in which Pearce is looking at the underlying structure of conversations. In this piece he was thinking about the experience of being ‘cut off’ mid flow. This monumental installation, mounted on to the façade of the gallery, is part industrial apparatus, part defunct water feature. The two valves are programmed into a conversation, which is at times violently interrupted by a gushing vomit of water from a cut in the pipe overhead.
Pearce graduated from his MA in Fine Art at City & Guilds of London Art School in September 2016, for which he received a distinction and the award for the Outstanding MA Show. He also has a Masters degree in Philosophy and Lectures on History of Art.