Maija Peeples-Bright (b. 1942 in Riga, Latvia, lives and works in Rocklin, CA) is known for her vividly colored paintings, drawings and ceramics depicting beast-like creatures and various members of the animal kingdom. In 1965, she received her masters degree in art from UC Davis, and had her first solo exhibition at the renowned Candy Store Gallery in nearby Folsom, where her friends and colleagues Robert Arneson and Roy De Forest also exhibited. Widely associated with the Northern California Nut Art movement, her compositions exhibit horror vacui, filled to the brim with tessellations of beasts forming surreal landscapes and interiors in striking impasto. Her work is held in several permanent collections, including the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento; Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis; Minneapolis Institute of Art; and Cincinnati Art Museum.
‘Maija Peeples-Bright’s Anti-Hierarchical Utopias and the Art of World-Building.’
by Catherine Wagley in Carla 22 (Winter 2020).
"Even if I am correct to read a certain refusal into Peeples-Bright’s life and work, I have to admit that I am always looking for this and that I want something from it. I want to live in a different, more liberated world than the one most of us find ourselves caught in, and I want art to help me find it, even as art worlds themselves have again and again proven to be fully committed to hierarchical, confining, and capitalist reality. Peeples-Bright’s work resists this reality by almost entirely ignoring it, immersing fully in a rapturous, distinct style that has deserved more market attention than it has received over the decades (but is also so appealing because it does not bow to market forces)...
...There have been no distinct phases, no shifts from abstraction to figuration; no divergences from pattern to experiment with photo and video. The exuberance that manages to at once be entirely sincere and tongue-in-cheek has been there since she finished graduate school in the early 1960s. So, too, has the textured maximalism, the fixation on animals and patterns, the alliteration in her titles, and the stylized, child-like flatness to her aesthetic (achieved and maintained with a calculated consistency that would allude any actual child)...
...In the utopias of Maija Peeples-Bright’s paintings, worlds in which absurdity, delight, and curiosity are allowed to thrive together without hierarchical tension, the escape already seems to have happened — there are few traces of a former, less ideal world...
...The repetition that characterizes her paintings contributes to the sense of a complete universe—like when you perform the same task for so long that the task becomes a conduit for a different kind of imagining."
Read the full essay here.
Maija Peeples-Bright: beautiFOAL
Perfect bound, 380 pages
9 1/4 x 10 1/2 inches (23.49 x 26.67 cm)
Essays by Michael Duncan, Cat Kron
Design by Tully
Edition of 500