Peoria, Illinois artist Carrie Pearce explores the unlimited realm of imagination in her latest series The Merry Makers. The exhibition features ten figurative oil paintings from the series and opens January 25 in the Dubuque Museum of Art’s Kris Mozena McNamer Gallery.
Pearce’s style has been described as imaginary realism. The fantastic figures in her work derive from a combination of imagination and photographic references. Although dedicated to the rigorous 16th century painting techniques of the Old Masters, she paints curious scenes of children interwoven with an array of toys and pets. The figures in her paintings are inspired by vintage family photos, particularly of children, which she finds at antique stores and estate sales. Pearce describes her work as emotional portraits rather than portraits of people. She imagines what life was like for these unknown children, what their thoughts, hopes, and dreams were. Her paintings become phantasmagorical worlds that explore each figure’s story.
Carrie Pearce was born in Peoria in 1969. She has been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember. She attended the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia where she graduated with honors. Pearce’s work has been featured both nationally and internationally. She was one of only ten finalists selected for the 2019 Bennett Prize, a national juried art competition and exhibition to honor and encourage women figurative painters. She is a “Living Artist” with the Art Renewal Center, an organization dedicated to the revival of realism in fine art. Her work has been featured in Fine Art Connoisseur, American Art Collector, and Hi-Fructose magazine.