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Paulina Peavy: Etherian Channeler Book Talk and Bohemian Cristal Instrument

February 21 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

In celebration of the release of Etherian Channeler, the first monograph dedicated to Paulina Peavy and her work, author Laura Whitcomb and research director Narin Dickerson will offer a presentation illuminating Peavy’s fascinating life, works, and practice. Accompanying the talk will be a rare screening of Peavy’s films, depicting translucent, biomorphic forms set to mesmerizing narration, as well as a display of Peavy’s intricate masks in PRS’s historic Manly P. Hall Library. Guided by an entity named Lacamo who identified as coming from other realms and “travelled on an etherian ship”, Peavy made and wore elaborate masks that represented a composite view of humanity to communicate with the unseen world.

Finally, inspired by the final layers of Peavy’s paintings which, completed in the 1980s, present abstracted crystalline formations the evening will conclude with a very special performance by acclaimed Czech sound artist Lenka Morávková. Working in the tradition of the Baschet Brothers, Morávková will activate through the glass rods of her Bohemian Cristal Instrument. Through an ethereal and utterly singular performance on this fascinating, self-made instrument, Morávková will explore both her connections to the crystals’ sonic attributes as well as to the notable alchemical library of King Rudolf II of Prague.


An artist, filmmaker, and philosopher, Paulina Peavy (1901-99) created layers of paintings over a period of 50 years that represented her spiritual and philosophical world view. Throughout “her long and productive creative life, she developed many phases, each more interesting and complex than the last, as she evolved as a person, creator, and spiritual being. Peavy was not only a painter, architect, designer, fashion designer, craftsman, teacher, mother, entrepreneur, gallerist, author and filmmaker, she was a seer: an ardent feminist, a guide to other worlds, and a devoted pacifist and healer of the modern age.” (The Paulina Peavy Estate)

Through her artistic practice, Peavy acted as a medium for several interdimensional, interplanetary visitors who appeared to her as beings of pure energy. Her most prominent mystic mentor, named Lacamo, was said to have “traveled on an etherian ship” from other realms and instructed Peavy “that her painting could change viewers’ neural pathways so that the viewer could become, over time, a receiver,” said Whitcomb. “In other words, the paintings were meant to increase neuroplasticity that would make viewers more psychic and more receptive as channelers themselves.” Such was Lacamo’s input that they are co-credited on many of her works, for which Peavy claimed she merely acted as a channeler, tasked with transmitting their cosmology and prophecy for humanity – a vision of nonbinary gender and sexual fluidity in which we “would evolve from males to females and eventually to an androgynous state of higher evolution and enlightenment.” (The Paulina Peavy Estate) In addition to informing her remarkable paintings, Lacamo is also credited with guiding her to make and wear elaborate masks that represented a composite view of humanity and enhanced her ability to communicate with the unseen world.

The last decade has seen the monumental rediscovery and reappraisal of a host of 20th Century artists – with women at the forefront – whose works were informed by deep spiritual searching and practice. Abstract artists like Hilma af Klimt, Anna Cassel, Agnes Pelton, and those of the Transcendental Painting Group, previously unknown to many due to longstanding disregard by the art world, have been rightfully elevated to the ranks of the most important artists of the past 100 years. Now, Laura Whitcomb’s PAULINA PEAVY: ETHERIAN CHANNELER, edited by LACMA curator Dr. Ilene Susan Fort, offers the first publication on the dynamic occult abstractions and masks of the long-lost American modernist, firmly adds a new name to the ranks of rediscovered, metaphysically inspired masters.

Join us for this book release celebration for Paulina Peavy: Etherian Channeler, with book talk and signing by author Laura Whitcomb and research director Narin Dickerson, the masks of Paulina Peavy on view in the Manly P. Hall Library, and a special performance “Bohemian Cristal Instrument” performance by Lenka Morávková!

Reception starts at 7:30 pm – you can purchase the book while Peavy’s films are projected in our courtyard! Book signing to follow the evening’s program.

All images courtesy of Paulina Peavy Estate and Andrew Edlin Gallery.

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. During her tenure, she focused on the occult library of the artist and his hermetic interests which informed the trajectory if his work. Following a curatorial residency at the Lucid Art Foundation, she worked as an archivist for the second-generation surrealist Gordon Onslow Ford and contributed an essay for the Sonoma Valley Museum’s exhibition on the S.S. Vallejo ferryboat, where Surrealists and Beat era artists notably converged. This was followed by her curated show, “Warner Jepson: Indeterminate Convergences,” at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock, which presented artists like Wallace Berman, Ruth Asawa, Bruce Conner, and others. In 2019, Whitcomb organized and served as the curatorial director for the retrospective of the San Francisco Dilexi Gallery, spanning six galleries across Los Angeles and San Francisco. The exhibition was followed by the publication “Dilexi: A Gallery & Beyond” (2021). In 2022, she curated “Tertium Organum,” exploring the influence of the philosopher P.D. Ouspensky and Gurdjieff on many surrealists and contemporary artists. 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 Narin Dickerson 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 the intersection of art and music documenting many zeitgeists that saw the convergence of sound art, experimental dance 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 Colón. 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 hermetic schools of thought. As a former fashion designer and historian she will be presenting the masks of Paulina Peavy outlining the varied approaches of her craft. Laura Whitcomb grew up in Los Angeles visiting PRS as a young teen due to her aunt’s active involvement with PRS and the East West Cultural House with Judith Tyberg. She was given a copy of The Secret Teaching of the Ages at the age of 13 which became a driving force of her research and interpretive strategies as an art historian.

Narin Dickerson is a researcher, media coordinator, video editor, photographer, and projectionist based in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles. He began working with Laura Whitcomb and Label Curatorial during preparation for the multi-gallery retrospective of the Dilexi Gallery (1958-1969), which was held at multiple locations in Northern and Southern California in 2019. He was research director and co-editor along with Jim Newman,Jasmine Moorhead and Andrew Choate of Dilexi: A Gallery & Beyond, published in 2021. He began researching Paulina Peavy in 2020 alongside Laura Whitcomb, and spent hundreds of hours sifting through newspaper articles and combing through various archives to help Whitcomb unearth and tell Paulina Peavy’s story. Dickerson gave a talk at Beyond Baroque on Peavy’s time in San Pedro and Long Beach between 1923 and 1943 in 2021 where he was an assistant curator. In addition to his work as a researcher, Narin has been technical coordinator for multiple film festivals, manager of arthouse cinemas, and an enthusiastic supporter of experimental, avant-garde, and underground music in Los Angeles where he is a familiar face across all cultural spectrums.

Lenka Morávková is a songwriter, sound artist, and electronic music producer from the Czech Republic, currently residing in Los Angeles, California. Tiptoeing on the edge between the dance floor and conceptual art, her work is rooted in global and personal collapses, an aesthetic of glitches and deconstruction, and an application of academic theories to performance practices. As a cross-disciplinary artist, Lenka Morávková transgresses boundaries within music, visual art, performance, and new media, touring internationally with her music project My Name Is Ann as well as performing with the unique glass instrument Bohemian Cristal Instrument (après Baschet sculpture). Her interactive sound installations and performances have been presented throughout Europe, including the LEM festival in Barcelona, the Czech National Theatre in Prague, the International Glass Symposium, Colours of Ostrava and the Biennial Ostrava Days festivals in the Czech Republic, the Natures Festival in Ljubjana, and the CreArt festival. //

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February 21
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
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Philosophical Research Society
3910 Los Feliz Blvd
Los Angeles,90027United States
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