Michael Pearce, Ph.D., MFA


Book this person as a speaker:

Email: pearce@callutheran.edu
Phone: (805) 493-3316


  • Magic Circles and Artificial Caves: The Stone Circles and Chambered Mounds of Neolithic Britain
    This is a short introduction to the art and architecture of the Ancient British megalith-builders. We'll be looking at images of megalithic structures like Stonehenge and the beautiful and remote Rong of Brodgar dating from two and a half thousand years before the birth of Christ. There are two broad categories of structure to appreciate: chambered mounds (which resemble artificial caves) and open-air enclosures like stone circles and henge monuments. A short talk will be accompanied by plenty of photographs of these mystical places from my collection, and some sneak peeks into current rock and art research.

  • Art on Earth: The Installation Art of Andy Goldsworthy
    An introduction to the beautiful work of Andy Goldsworthy, British land artist. Goldsworthy is one of the best known contemporary British artists because his light touch transforms simple natural forms like leaves and twigs into elegant and fragile sculptures. His books, "Stone," "Wood," and many other titles have caught the imaginations of millions, while his film, "Rivers and Tides," has been a big seller.

  • What are you looking at? The Invention of the Museum and Why We Like to Look at Things
    An illustrated lecture about how museums came to be, a peculiar journey featuring the bizarre wonders of cabinets of curiosity, strange esoteric philanthropists, and American revolutionary heroes.

  • Ophelia's Bouquets: Herbs in Hamlet

Professor Michael Pearce joined the CLU Art Department full-time in 2005, having previously served as an adjunct professor in 2001. He's an accomplished oil painter, installation designer, and an award-winning theatrical scenic designer. He says teaching painting and drawing to CLU students is the most rewarding job of his life. He is passionate about figurative painting. In 2018 his "Secret Paintings" exhibit completed a tour that crossed the United States, gaining excellent reviews. 

In 2012 he founded and chaired The Representational Art Conference, (TRAC) the first of a series of important international cultural events designed to provide an academic platform for the discussion of 21st Century representational art. 

In addition to his scholarly work, Michael J. Pearce is actively involved in contemporary art as a curator and critic. He specializes in skill-based figurative paintings and sculpture, and has organized several successful exhibitions of imaginative realism that became must-sees for art lovers in California. After the TRAC conferences ended in 2019, he started contributing articles to prominent magazines, and soon gained a reputation for his insightful reviews and profiles of talented artists.

Increasingly frustrated with the trend towards abstract and conceptual art that he felt was disconnected from traditional skills such as figurative drawing, and composition, and from popular taste, Pearce championed artists who shared his passion for visionary representational art, and began writing for publications such as Mutual Art, American Art Collector, American Fine Art, and Fine Art Connoisseur. He sought out artists who were pushing the boundaries of traditional techniques while maintaining a strong focus on storytelling and beauty. Today, Pearce's writing has helped to raise the profile of representational art in a world that often seems obsessed with shock value and novelty. He continues to promote artists who he believes are making a meaningful contribution to the art world through their dedication to skill and craftsmanship. Pearce's work challenges conventional assumptions about the role of the American avant-garde and highlights the importance of artistic individualism. His scholarship and activism have inspired a new generation of artists to question established norms and push the boundaries of artistic experimentation.

Between 2005 and 2016 Pearce was the curator of CLU's Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture, which under his direction hosted exhibits like Running with Scissors, The Man Show, The New Romantic Figure, and has shown works by a huge variety of artists including Jeremy Lipking, Mia Tavonatti, Cyn McCurry, Pamela Wilson, and of a broad range of genres, including the AIDS Quilt, photos from communist countries, installation art, and art by CLU's Art faculty. Since 2016 he has worked as a freelance curator, organizing exhibitions of imaginative realism and psychedelic art, showing work by Odd Nerdrum, Roger Dean, Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell, Jeremy Lipking, Brad Kunkle, Adam Miller, and other artists in the pantheon of the great figurative artists of our time.