Nuts and Who's: A Candy Store Sampler
San José Museum of Art
August 11, 2023–February 25, 2024
Maija Peeples-Bright (b. 1942 in Riga, Latvia, lives and works in Rocklin, CA) is one of the few women artists associated with Northern California’s Funk and Nut art movements of the late 1960s and ‘70s. In 1965 she graduated with a masters degree in art from UC Davis and had her first solo exhibition at the renowned Candy Store Gallery in nearby Folsom, CA, where she exhibited annually until 1991. Her wildly inventive practice comprises compositions bustling with animals of all kinds, forming surreal, imaginative landscapes in audacious impasto. Adding a growing number of animals—lovingly referred to by the artist as ‘beasties’—to her visual lexicon with each passing year, they represent alternate realities, infusing gaiety and a sense of the absurd into impossible scenarios. Highly distinctive, her animal groupings relish in the extreme, often taking up every inch of the canvas; multiplying her subjects into dizzying arrangements, they comprise entire worlds.
Recent solo exhibitions include those held at Parker Gallery, Los Angeles (2020 and 2023), Nicelle Beauchene, New York (2019) and Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CA (2018). Recent group exhibitions include Nuts and Who’s: A Candy Store Sampler, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA (2023), Clay Pop Los Angeles, Deitch Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2023), Funk You Too!: Humor and Irreverence in Modern and Contemporary Ceramic Sculpture, Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY (2023), The Candy Store: Funk, Art, and Other Art With A Kick, Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA (2022), The Interior, Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY (2021), Strange, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA (2019), and Landscape Without Boundaries: Selections from the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, curated by Dan Nadel, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, Davis, CA. Her work is included in several permanent collections, including the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, CA; Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MN; and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinatti, OH.