There are few figures in the world of arts and culture who have conjured a worldview so fully complete in its internal logic and yet as terrifyingly radical as Paulina Peavy (1901-1999). Peavy’s artwork, writings and films appear to those of us mired in conventional reality as unhinged. She painted while wearing a mask and served as a channel for a being she described as her personal “UFO,” a highly evolved teacher from the future named Lacamo. The ability Lacamo gave her to see past and future helped make her artwork indescribable and breathtaking in its sumptuous timelessness and world-making, or perhaps world-saving, ambition.
Since Paulina Peavy’s artwork and writings deal with future-sex, post masculine gender roles and mankind’s place in the universe, her visionary practice sits in a long trajectory with Joseph Campbell, Hilma Af Klimt, Forest Bess, Larry Mitchell, Valerie Solanis, and Agnes Pelton. Peavy would not likely have seen other earthbound visual artists as part of her tribe given that Lacamo stated that “no artist in your world could endure such a stretching of emotions.” It is productive to inquire into the nature of the collaboration between Lacamo and Peavy that led to such an extraordinary body of beautiful paintings, drawings and masks.
This emissary from the future, Lacamo, was first encountered at a seance in Los Angeles in the 1930s - a period of city wide explorations of the paranormal by writer/philosophers like Aldous Huxley, Gerald Heard and Christopher Isherwood, all of whom were pursuing esoteric spiritual wisdom across cultural lines. Peavy manifests a desire to find universal truths in cryptic form in the texts and artifacts of ancient cultures, an
emerging concern amongst unconventional intellectuals at that time. Lacamo continued to teach Peavy and co-author artworks with her for over 50 years. For Peavy, Lacamo existed beyond human conceptions of gender and identity, and also revealed to her a future in which a female-based single sex reproduction would make men redundant. Lacamo was a mystic teacher and merely assumed a name to be comprehensible to Peavy’s limited human mind. Lacamo instructed Peavy to cross out proper nouns in the Bible and restore it from a male mistranslation to a document of pure scientific reality. Like in Solanis’ Scum Manifesto, men are merely an unnecessary evil. Like Bess and Af Klimt, her paintings are not created but revealed to her beyond normal conceptions of authorship, their meanings to be understood to their physical maker over a long span of time.
The vast majority of Peavy’s works are hard to date as she saw them not as paintings for galleries but as teaching tools, and therefore kept altering them, sometimes for decades. While she did exhibit during her lifetime, most notably at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1940 (San Francisco) alongside celebrated figures like Diego Rivera, she explains in her writings and films that her mission with Lacamo transcended mere artistic ambitions. She felt able to decode wisdom from ancient times (that had been mistranslated by underdeveloped men), helping us to evolve and bring about a better future.
1901 – Born Pauline Ellen White in Colorado City, Colorado, August 24
1919-23 – Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Education, Oregon State College (Oregon State University), Corvallis, Oregon
1932-42 – Art Educator, Board of Education, Los Angeles and Long Beach
1999 – Peavy dies in Bethesda, MD
Paulina Peavy/Lacamo: They Call us Unidentified, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
April 14, 1561, (Group Exhibition) Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Paulina Peavy: A Message to Paulina, Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE), Reston, VA
Independent Art Fair New York, exhibited by Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Paulina Peavy: The Artist Behind the Mask, Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Dallas Art Fair, Dallas, TX, exhibited by Andrew Edlin Gallery, New York, NY
Exhibition unverified, Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Genesis, Atomic Forces of Nature, Lawrence Terzian Gallery, New York, NY
Paulina Peavy, Argent Gallery, New York, NY
Exhibitions at Hartert Galleries, Jurart Galleries, the Roxy Theatur, and Staten Island Museum
Exhibition at Delphic Studios, New York, NY
Unverified exhibition at the San Diego Museum
Last Supper mural and film UFO Identified exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition
Exhibition unverified at Civic Center Museum of San Francisco; Stanford University; the Gumps Gallery, San Francisco; the Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles; Palos Verdes Gallery, Palos Verdes
1985 – Bronze medal at the 28th Annual International Film & TV Festival of New York, The Artist Behind the Mask
1984 – Silver Award at the International Film & TV Festival of New York for Male Sex
1983 – Bronze Award at the International Film & TV Festival of New York, Is the Moon a Burned-out Sun
1982 – Bronze Award at the International Film & TV Festival of New York, Mountain of Myrrh
1981 – Bronze Award at the International Film & TV Festival of New York, Paulina, Artist-Philosopher, An Artist of Vision
2018 – Jenkins, Mark. “Paulina Peavy’s postcards from the cosmos”, The Washington Post
1958 – Nebel, Long John, WOR Radio interview, New York, NY
1946 – Madra, Margaret. “In Awe of Creative Powers, Impressionistic Painter of Biblical Parable Has Theories on Atom,” Brooklyn Eagle
1943 – Riley, Maud. “Electronics’ in Paint,” Art Digest
“Mystic Symbolism”, The New York Times