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Artist Information

Maija Peeples-Bright

Born in 1942 in Riga, Latvia, amidst both Soviet and Nazi invasions; Maija spent many of her early years in a guarded refugee camp, until the time when the family was able to flee, landing amidst the bucolic pastures of sunny Sacramento. While enrolled at UC Davis, a requisite art class taught by William T. Wiley was all that it took to change Peeples-Bright from math to art major.  Upon completing her graduate studies at UC Davis, the artist and her husband at the time artist and poet David Zack, purchased a house on Steiner St. in the Haight which Maija proceeded to paint completely in and out.  The exterior was bedecked in every color of Dutch Boy paint in production, and the inside was adorned floor to ceiling with sprawling murals featuring Maija’s rollicking cast of “beasts”–it’s own kind of funkified Sistine Chapel.  What became known as the “Rainbow House” served as a critical meeting place and open forum for the exchange of ideas between artists from Roy de Forest to Jay DeFeo to R. Crumb. Peeples-Bright’s first show was at the legendary Candy Store Gallery in Folsom California, run by Adeliza McHugh and operating between 1962-1992, featuring shows by a slew of artists from Robert Arneson and Roy De Forest to Gladys Nilsson and Jim Nutt. For more than five decades now, Maija has continued to devote herself entirely to her work, teeming with its cornucopia of “beasts” and wild fantastical realms, without slowing down one bit.

If Peeples-Bright’s “Rainbow House” is any indication, the artist is absolutely fearless in the face of a daunting project, and completely unhindered by any conventions that might serve to limit the expansiveness of her roaming spirit. Just as her maximalist paintings covered and seeped into every open space and dark crevice of the famous house in the Haight, this vivacious unstoppable energy carries forth through everything she touches–from the frame of a work adorned with layers of saturated paint and patches of fur, to the artist’s shoes and even the plastic license plate holders of her Toyota minivan. There’s little credence paid to stuffier notions of high and low, both in subject matter and function, as the artist’s playfully ornate ceramic lamp is treated with the same sense of importance and love as any painting could ever be.  And through this there rings a real vitality and energy within the wild and wooly world that Maija coaxes forth from every work she creates.  The furry, scaly and hairy creatures that the artist calls forth and which populate her beautifully fantastic worlds form not only a refuge for the minds of the artist and viewer from any besetting darkness, but carry and outwardly reflect the same sense of love, joy and affection that the artist places in their creation.