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Michael A. Pierce

Michael A. Pierce, photo by John Henley

Photo by John Henley

I use familiar visual signs to explore materials, process and identity issues. I typically incorporate energetic drawing marks in oil pastels and graphite, gilding, glitter, various decorative surface treatments, along with text, building layers of meaning in the work. For many years, I’ve been working on a series based mainly on my own documentary photographs of prize-winning rabbits from various rabbit shows, including the Virginia State Fair. In the transition from photographs to drawings, the rabbits have been freed of their cages, and the gesture of the hand-drawn mark takes precedence over photographic representation.

"Who doesn’t like a rabbit?" I have asked, knowing full well that there are those who find these images too safe and sweet.

Obviously, the image of a rabbit is a loaded image. Rabbits carry symbolic meaning that varies widely and is often contradictory. They are safe, soft, and cuddly and therefore an appropriate symbol for the child in each of us. But they are also fearful, shy and vulnerable, and sometimes prey for the hunter. At the same time, they remind us of our own sexuality, desire, and abundance speaking to the adult in us. Ultimately, rabbits may symbolically assure us of hope and happiness for the future with new life and new beginnings.

The rabbit as trickster and the artist as trickster also play an important part in my work. I frequently include French words and phrases, using Google translator to translate random phrases, descriptions of rabbit behavior and thoughts about the symbolism of rabbits into French, a language I neither speak nor understand.

- Michael A. Pierce.


These are from a series called "I beg your pardon"

What is it about rubber gloves? How do we protect ourselves in these times (or in any times) and how careful do we need to be?

In these pieces, easy evidence and a hint of process is left behind on the paper. I'm still drawing, using graphite but this time rather than using oil pastels, I'm using water-based drawing media. Then I'm activating the drawing with the chance-based addition of water. I really don't want to be too careful.

The text that I've chosen has been lifted from Chaucer's The Pardoner's Tale. I hope that it's not too obvious to be using passages that were written during the Middle Ages and at the time of Black Plague. And that I've chosen to quote the "pardoner" because he is considered to be the one character in Chaucer's Tales who was likely gay. But the truth is... we all seek safety, familiarity and comfort wherever and however we can find it.



'PAN 01 it is all I know (yellow glove)' by Michael A. Pierce, 22.5in x 22.5in, watercolor, graphite on paper – 24.5in x 24.5in framed

PAN 01 it is all I know (yellow glove)
watercolor, graphite on paper
22.5in x 22.5in, 24.5in x 24.5in framed

'PAN 13 they kissed (blue gloves)' by Michael A. Pierce, watercolor, oil pastels, graphite on synthetic paper – 20in x 20in, 22in x 22in framed

PAN 13 they kissed (blue gloves)
watercolor, oil pastels, graphite on synthetic paper
20in x 20in, 22in x 22in framed

'PAN 03 draw nearer dear sir (blue gloves)' by Michael A. Pierce, watercolor, graphite on paper, 22.5” x 22.5”

PAN 03 draw nearer dear sir (blue gloves)
watercolor, graphite on paper
22.5” x 22.5”

'PAN 11 not even death will take my life (yellow gloves)' by Michael A. Pierce, watercolor, graphite on synthetic paper, 20in x 20in

PAN 11 not even death will take my life (yellow gloves)
watercolor, graphite on synthetic paper
20in x 20in




'Two Top Hats and a Fruitcake' by Michael A. Pierce, oil pastels, graphite, latex housepaint on paper, 23in x 23in, 2019

Two Top Hats and a Fruitcake
oil pastels, graphite, latex housepaint on paper
23in x 23in
2019

'Keep Your Cats Indoors, Please - Yellow Bird (pink)' by Michael A. Pierce, oil pastels, graphite, latex housepaint on paper, 20.5in x 20.5in, 2019

Keep Your Cats Indoors, Please - Yellow Bird (pink)
oil pastels, graphite, latex housepaint on paper
20.5in x 20.5in
2019


https://sites.google.com/view/michael-a-pierce/michael-a-pierce

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