Colleen Pearce

MFA ’15 Fine Arts 2D

One summer morning, I found a gorgeous moth had fallen dead, directly on to my drawing table. I couldn’t help but draw it. In fact, became obsessed. It turned out it to be a Privet Hawk Moth (Sphinx ligustri). I discovered that many of these creatures of the nocturnal world are stunning. They play a pivotal role as pollinators and as indicators of biodiversity and the health of our eco-systems. Moths function as “canaries in the coalmine.” When they undergo metamorphosis, the former caterpillar is turned into goo, while retaining a few key imaginal discs that use that protein rich soup as rocket fuel to regenerate all new legs, genitals, wings, antennae and all other features of the adult moth. And yet moths remember what they learned in the later stages of their lives as caterpillars! And who could miss the symbolism of being drawn to the light? My artist process aspires to this magnitude of transformation. I begin allowing myself to be drawn to the light, whatever happens to capture my imaginal discs. As I get into the slide of the paint and the skitter of charcoal, I get lost. I’m in the goo. Focusing on the physicality of line and mark making I let go of preconceived notions of what will grow before me on the paper. Rather than a cerebral understanding, I connect with the energy of the subject. Meanwhile, a distant memory tugs.

Colleen Pearce is an artist who uses her tools to speak up and out about the human condition and the planet we call home. She completed a BFA at Tufts University, a diploma in Fine Arts from the Museum School of Fine Arts, a diploma from the Gallery of New South Wales in art history, and, she earned an MFA from MassArt. Colleen has exhibited across New England.