After presenting the online exhibition Flaming Spirits earlier this year, we are glad to be able to now show Alma Peguero’s drawings in physical space in Flaming Spirits Redux. These large, gestural works on paper, made throughout this spring and summer, possess a materiality and presence that eludes digital capture and reproduction.
Flaming Spirits is a title that may translate differently from culture to culture—from person to person. From my syncretic background between Spanish Catholicism, Haitian voodoo, and non-western philosophies like yoga, I parallel the word spirit with the word soul, the word presence, and the word energy. The word flaming, I parallel to the word fire, heat, or warmth. Other ways to think about this title could be, for instance, Warming Presence or Souls of Fire.
To me, we are within the time in which we are again being pulled to a language founded in poetry, to a language that should be interpreted and doesn’t need to be consumed. More than our understanding, it requires our most intimate participation. We are being called to modes of perception in which imagination takes a seat in the front row. In this sense, imagination is ignited by the element of fire, whose importance relies on its capacity to transform, to change matter, to heat the environment, and affect the circumstances with persistent quality.
In the past months, we have been experiencing different kinds of fires, physical, mental, and emotional. Social media cried out about Notre Dame burning in Paris (2019), we felt more than ever before during the burning of part of the Amazon in Brazil (2019), and what does Australia’s longest season of bushfires tell us? (2019-2020), not to mention the many fires that are currently going on like the Wolf Fire in California which started this past September 22.
This year, in my country, The Dominican Republic, there was one of the biggest fires of the landfill Duquesa Vertedero, which filled the houses at the center of the city with toxic smoke. We can see, how we have all been burned mentally and emotionally on some level by the quarantine and by all the losses that have come with these.
I think, probably just like you do, that these are callings to change the ways in which we approach life. I believe we are always called to renew our perception, to expand into ways that show more appreciation to the other and to the earth.
These drawings presented under the title Flaming Spirits are a homage to all the warming presences that in these times have served us as inspiration to change our ways of perception, and to humble our humanness by murmuring into our souls how to travel to our interior, where we can be transformed and eventually, extend this transformation outside of ourselves.
I invite you to travel with your eyes through my Flaming Spirits drawings made as active meditation practices. Please, feel free to respond to them and to my experience with the element of fire during this extraordinary 2020.
About the artist
Alma Peguero is a Dominican visual artist who received her MFA from the University at Buffalo, and BFA from Parsons the New School for Design. Peguero’s work explores the relationship between ontology and math. She creates drawings, prints, and paintings based on geometrical and mathematical systems. She aims to to embrace logical methods of working while inquiring about the fundamentals of being. Her work is directed to an audience interested in contemplation, self-knowledge, and mind-evolving processes.