Opening Reception for Local Artist at the Museum of Ventura County

Exhibit marks beginning of national tour

The Museum of Ventura County launches the summer season with an opening reception for The Secret Paintings, unveiling the works of artist Michael Pearce, 6-8 p.m., June 2, at the Museum, 100 Main Street, Ventura. Following the opening ceremony, patrons can view the collected works and have the opportunity to meet and speak with the artist in person. Admission to the Museum and reception is free for Free First Friday.

“We are thrilled to be the first-stop on a national tour for Michael’s outstanding artwork,” said Elena Brokaw, the Museum of Ventura County’s interim CEO. “His work resonates on many levels and appeals to a broad audience. We are excited to make his artwork available to the community.”

For this exhibit, Pearce has selected 35 works of art, for which he took inspiration from Renaissance and Pre-Raphaelite masters. With The Secret Paintings, Pearce seeks to emulate their ambitiousness and scale, which is reflected in the centerpiece of the exhibition: a monumental four-part work of oil on canvas themed for the summer solstice.

Pearce’s imaginative and theatrical paintings pay homage to cultural touchstones as diverse as Harry Potter, the Holy Bible and The Da Vinci Code. At the same time, they draw on esoteric symbols representative of alchemy while creating narratives that embrace the magic and romance of an earlier era. Pearce uses ancient Neolithic imagery and medieval tarot card settings rife with allegory, to depict grand adventures across his canvases.  

An associate professor in the art department at California Lutheran University, Pearce earned a B.A. from Dartington College of Arts in Fallmouth, England, his Master of Fine Arts in scenic design from the University of Southern California and was awarded his Ph.D. by Plymouth University, Plymouth, England. Pearce is an influential leader in the representational art community. He co-founded The Representational Art Conference (also known as TRAC), an international conference which has brought many acclaimed artists to the Ventura County region.

The Secret Paintings will be on display at the Museum through August 6. The museum hosts Free First Sundays as well as Appreciation Weekends with free admission for featured groups. Visit for a full schedule of free admission days.

The Museum of Ventura County, through its collections, exhibits, educational programs and publications, celebrates the history, art, and culture of Ventura County and the Channel Islands. Located at 100 East Main Street, Ventura, CA 93001, the museum is open Tuesday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Closed Monday). Admission is $5.00 Adults (18 years and older), $3.00 Seniors (62 and over) and Students with ID, $1.00 Children (17-6 years old); Children 5 years old and younger are free. For information, visit or call 805-653-0323.


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