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Painting by Roy De Forest titled The Green Pony from 1975

Roy De Forest, "The Green Pony," 1975. Polymer on cotton canvas; 66 x 62 in (167.6 x 157.5 cm).

Painting by Maija Peeples-Bright titled Panda Pangolin from 1975

Maija Peeples-Bright, "Panda Pangolin," 1975. Acrylic on canvas; 39 x 47 in (99.1 x 119.4 cm)

Untitled work on paper by Roy De Forest from 1971

Roy De Forest, "Untitled," 1971. Pastel, felt-tipped pen, and colored pencil on paper; 24 1/4 x 29 1/4 in (61.6 x 74.3 cm). Private Collection.

Painting by Maija Peeples-Bright titled Sheep Shamrock from 1974

Maija Peeples-Bright, "Sheep Shamrock," 1974. Acrylic and glitter on canvas; 24 x 20 in (61 x 50.8 cm).

Press Release

Maija Peeples-Bright & Roy De Forest
Curated by Adrianne Rubenstein

June 20th - July 26th, 2024
Opening: June 20th, 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Venus Over Manhattan
39 Great Jones Street
New York, NY 10012

(New York, NY) -- Venus Over Manhattan is pleased to present a two-person exhibition featuring the vibrant works of Maija Peeples-Bright and Roy De Forest, curated by artist Adrianne Rubenstein. Both Peeples-Bright and De Forest were central figures in the Northern California Funk Art movement of the 1960s, a period known for its whimsical imagination, vibrant colors, and unique quirkiness. Featuring historical works by both artists, as well as new work by Peeples-Bright, the exhibition draws out the visual and historical connection between these two artists’ work. Comprising paintings, works on paper, and sculpture, the presentation will be on view at 39 Great Jones Street from June 20th through July 26th, 2024.

Adrianne Rubenstein has curated this exhibition to highlight the joyful surrealism and unfiltered eccentricity of Peeples-Bright and De Forest’s works. She views these pieces as essential images from our own everyday lives, providing a unique lens to explore and question creativity and perception. Roy De Forest, with his creative and original approach to image-making, saw his paintings as “a hook to put your imagination on.” This sentiment is echoed throughout the exhibition, capturing one of the central tenets of the 1960s California art scene.

More than professional peers, Maija Peeples-Bright and Roy De Forest shared a deep friendship that influenced their artistic journeys. They were both founding members of the Nut Art movement, which embraced humor alongside the phantasmagorical. They delighted in "alter-egos," fantastical and often anthropomorphic versions of themselves and their friends, which they painted into their work. Rubenstein's curation pays homage to the long friendship of these two figures, and their shared creative exuberance.

This exhibition follows recent solo shows for both artists, including Peeples-Bright’s recent presentations at Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, and Nicelle Beauchene, New York; and De Forest’s solo exhibition at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art in Davis, California.


Maija Peeples-Bright (b. 1942, Riga, Latvia) is an artist whose vibrant works are associated with Northern California’s Funk and Nut Movement of the 60s and 70s. These concurrent if not overlapping movements bolstered her spirit of humor and eccentricity, which manifests diversely across her body of work. Peeples-Bright received an MFA from UC Davis in 1965 and held her first solo exhibition at the notable Candy Store Gallery in Folsom, CA that same year. Since then, she has participated in numerous exhibitions across the United States and internationally, including Nuts and Who’s: A Candy Store Sampler, a group show at the San Jose Museum of Art and Mermaid Maija & The Island Paintings, a solo show at Parker Gallery in Los Angeles in 2023. Bountiful use of color, texture, and shape allow her to cultivate life in the worlds of her works, which are predominantly paintings and sculptures. Animals, which Bright has affectionately referred to as her “beasties,” are a recurring visual motif in her works. Pieces by Bright are in the permanent collections of several museums including Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, CA, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH. 


Roy De Forest (b. 1930, North Platte, Nebraska) attended the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute), and San Francisco State College, where he received his B.A. in 1953, and his M.A. in 1958. His work has been the subject of numerous solo presentations both stateside and abroad, including exhibitions at the Oakland Museum of California; Galerie Darthea Speyer, Paris; ICA Boston; SFMoMA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Candy Store Gallery, Folsom; and Dilexi Gallery, San Francisco. De Forest’s work is frequently featured in major group exhibitions, including recent presentations at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York; RISD Museum, Providence; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. His work is held in numerous public collections around the world, including the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Christchurch Art Gallery, Christchurch; Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts, Lausanne; SFMoMA; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. De Forest lived and worked in Port Costa, California, before his death in 2007.


Adrianne Rubenstein (b. 1983, Montreal, Canada) is a New York-based artist and curator. Her paintings are made in the language of impressionism, featuring motifs from art history and references to home decoration.  Rubenstein received her BFA from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. She was the Director at CANADA from 2014-2020. Her curatorial debut Forget About the Sweetbreads at James Fuentes (2013) was followed by Anthropocene at CANADA (2014); Fort Greene at Venus Los Angeles (2016); Go Away Road at Loyal Gallery (2019) and two years of exhibition programming at Grifter, in Two Bridges, Manhattan.  Rubenstein’s work has been the focus of solo exhibitions, including “Magic Show,” Broadway, New York, NY (2024); “Blue,” at Tanya Leighton, Los Angeles (2023); “Little Shop of Horrors,” Tif Sigfrids, Athens, GA (2019); and “The Forest Floor,”  Cooper Cole, Toronto, ON (2018). Her work has been covered in the New York Times, Artforum, ArtNews, Artsy, and more.  

For further information about the exhibition and availability, please contact the gallery at

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