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Laura Whitcomb

In 1932, Paulina Peavy (1901 – 1999) attended a séance at the home of Ida L. Ewing in Santa Ana, California, where she claims to have met a UFO named Lacamo, a spirit from another world. From that moment forward Peavy, a university-trained artist, painted with a brush that “moved on its own.” In order to better channel Lacamo’s energies, Peavy also constructed and wore masks when she painted, occasionally signing her works with Lacamo’s name alongside her own.

Peavy’s entire life was dedicated to promoting her worldview and various philosophies through drawing, painting, sculpture, text, and film. Her works on paper depict the artist’s individualized visual cosmos using shapes that resemble energy beams, solar systems, and procreative organic shapes signifying genitalia, ova, fallopian tubes, sperm, and fetuses. Peavy’s life and work were constantly evolving to reflect her belief in mankind’s evolution to an androgynous one-sex through contact with aliens.

Laura Whitcomb is a surrealist scholar and the director of Label Curatorial, which focuses on lesser-known artists and movements of the West Coast. She has worked at the Gala – Salvador Dalí Foundation at the Dalí Theatre Museum in Figueres, Spain, while also contributing essays for exhibitions at the Dalí Museum in Florida.

She is also a focused scholar of artists who engage hermetic traditions in their art practice. “Paulina Peavy: Etherian Channeler” in 2023 (D.A.P.) is edited by the adjunct LACMA curator Dr. Ilene Susan Fort and focuses on the channeler artist Paulina Peavy, whom Whitcomb curated at Beyond Baroque in 2021 and for the Andrew Edlin gallery in 2023.

Label Curatorial focuses on sound art and light artists. Studying the inceptive roots of what became Los Angeles’s most notable home-grown movement, she presented a Light and Space installation of Peter Alexander, Laddie John Dill, and Larry Bell at the official re-opening of the Brand Library and Art Center in 2014. In 2022, she curated “Luminaries of Light and Space” at LAX Airport, produced by Dublab, which included these artists along with Robert Irwin, De Wain Valentine, Fred Eversley, Helen Pashgian, Hap Tivey, and Gisela Colon. Whitcomb has two books forthcoming through Label Curatorial, highlighting artist and poet-run galleries from 1949-1965 and artists of the Beat era who continued surrealist lineages while exploring the occult.

Paulina Peavy (1901 – 1999) 82 Modern Art, n.d. Mixed media 7.75 x 10 x 0.5 inches
Paulina Peavy (1901 – 1999) Phantasma 59, c. 1980s Acrylic on canvas board 24 x 30 inches
Paulina Peavy (1901 – 1999), Untitled, c. 1937 – 1939, Oil on panel, 72 x 48 inches
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