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An interesting definition of spirituality is ‘that process of realigning your sense of self with something you may never have thought was within you.’ It is a transcendental journey of self-discovery. A journey as vast as consciousness with no end goal other than enlightenment. Spirituality acknowledges interconnectedness and considers the meaning of life and connection with others as well as a sense of connection to something bigger than ourselves. The spiritual dimension tries to be in harmony with the universe and strives for answers about the infinite.
At a time when we live in a materialistic, consumer driven society, the spiritual has been pushed to the margins by the ideologies of science and technology and by an all-consuming desire for material comforts. We are obsessed with building a flawless image of ourselves to present to others on social media that often denies our realities.
A response to the dearth of spirituality in society, to the aggressiveness and falsity of the material world that is presented as the only alternative, the art of Peca offers the artist and us, a refuge, and an alternate reality with a Zen like spirituality. “My paintings are my way of searching for life’s answers. They are my meditation. They are the materialisation of the dreams within my mind which are all connected to the universal experience.” It is her internal sanctuary, free of the rules and expectations of the physical world. A glorious, wildly imaginative invention, her intensely coloured, incandescent dream galaxy of a world invites us on a mystical adventure where curious all knowing beings smile and invite us to explore the mysteries of the universe.
Your artwork has a Zen like spirituality. Are you a spiritual person? Do you seek to find yourself through your art?
I would not define myself as a spiritual person; I believe that I am an existentialist attentive to the spiritual or trying to move in a spiritual path, although many times I transit through the underworld. The art is my best way of to connect with myself and with the universe. It’s my moment of introspection, the way to not lose my mind. It’s meditation, a decoding of cosmic signals perhaps. To materialize the unconscious is my road to the consciousness.
We live in a materialistic, consumer driven society. The spiritual has been pushed to the margins by the ideologies of science and technology and by the consuming desire for material comforts. Is your work a response to the dearth of spirituality in society, even on an intuitive level?
Maybe it is a response to the aggressiveness and falsity of the material world that is presented as the only alternative, the way of being outside the rules.
The embrace is a recurring motif throughout your work. What does this image mean for you? Can you explain the symbolism behind the embrace?
The hug symbolizes that attempt to connect. My way of saying that we are not alone, we are an organism, we believe we are individual entities, totally independent beings, but we depend on each other. We are one with the rest of beings and the universe. We even depend on colonies of bacteria that we have within our own organism.
In fact, your work is full of recurring motifs. Could you explain the importance of symbolism in your work? Is it important for the viewer to understand your symbolism or do you use it for purely personal meaning?
Absolutely everything that appears in my paintings is a symbol of my own imagination. Everything has a reason to be there in the work. It does not matter if those who discover these symbols interpret them as me; everything comes out of my subconscious so the viewer’s interpretation is as valid as mine is.
Your animals and anthropomorphic creatures also allude to the spiritual for me. They remind me of ancient and primitive gods come down to earth. They exude light; they play, dance, embrace or float above our world. Who are these creatures to you and what do they represent. What do you feel you can say through them?
All the beings that I paint are awake beings, connected to the universal movement they ignore our rules and have the mission to challenge the viewer, to make him see beyond, to push him into the unknown, to shake his world. The beings float, the world’s upside down, the drops rise, the birds fall, the flowers as spirits… I try to break the foundations of our belief system with these elements and to show that there are infinite numbered possibilities.
Explain the role of the eye in your imagery and why you represent it as you do?
I give a lot of importance to the eyes, I think they are my center of connection with the viewer; it is the gateway to my worlds.
Your work is incredibly detailed and luminous. I am always struck by the light emanating from your paintings. I would consider these to be possibly the strongest visual aspects of your paintings.
I give great importance to lighting, and my images have become more chiaroscuro, hence the name of my last show at Arch Enemy. I find it super interesting, the battle between light and darkness the dependence between them. An image can acquire a different drama or mood according to the illumination. I find this fascinating, and I would like to delve more into this subject.
I read that your Hopi series began with a show at Fousion Gallery and continued with your show at Le Luz de Jesus. You said in an interview at the time you were building a narrative between the two worlds in these shows. What are the different ‘worlds’?
The Hopi peoples are the remnants of a humanity more connected to the universal movement to magic, to the truth behind the appearance. It is a wish to approach even a little, a more primal way of understanding life, of finding the seed of knowledge, to trace a drop of light after centuries of secrecy. Another detail that seemed curious to me in the Hopis in their mythology, they believe in the Kachinas, beings coming from space bringing knowledge. The two worlds present in my paintings are the truth and the appearance, the truth is infinite, the appearance is limited.
You paint a fantasy world and fantastical creatures with magical powers. What do you see as the function of fantasy in your life and in the life of others generally?
Fantasy is the germ of creation, without that flash of light without that primal idea nothing exists.
Describe your process in creating a body of work. What is your favourite part of the creation process and which aspects do you struggle with the most?
For me the most complex part in the creation is the construction, it is to achieve a balance between the energies present in the work. Sometimes I am entangled in an energetic chaos that is difficult to unravel and other times the energy flows normally… and my favorite part in the creation is to put those details that give meaning to the work that make it special.
You make stop motion films with your partner, Mono. What aspects of Peca’s creativity would we see in your films not apparent in your paintings? What ideas and visual notions do you explore through your stop motion filmmaking?
I worked in stop motion with my partner Mono Cieza (musician and sculptor) for some years, in one of my many lives lol. The stop motion is fascinating. To put in motion a character, to give it life is an incredible sensation, I have enjoyed it a lot, and it has taught me to be patient, to maintain concentration for hours.
It was beautiful while it lasted but it is very difficult to sustain this activity over time because the process is very long.
What directions, exhibitions and projects have you planned for 2018?
I really feel that I want to be in painting full time, I have been, and I am still, in many artistic activities, but with the idea of focusing more and more on painting. It is a year in which I have decided to make a much desired change for me for some time. I am focusing my energy on just one or two projects, while in previous years I was in a lot of shows per year. It’s a challenge because it changes my way of working during the last years, it takes me out of the comfort zone and the showcase for a while. Now I am in a series of paintings on a large scale and this is really where I want to stay. I have always felt comfortable in the large format, because is a more corporal, but for group exhibitions, I had to work to small formats.
I will participate in only two more groups during 2018
“Suggestivism” curated by Nathan Spoor at Spoke Gallery
“Best Friends” curated by Erika Miller at Copro Gallery, LA.