June Edmonds: Full Spectrum (2022)
Edited by Karen Rapp
Contributors: Karen Rapp, jill moniz
Published by Laband Art Gallery, 2022. Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA.
Softcover, 64 pages
June Edmonds: Full Spectrum is the first monograph of artist June Edmonds. This publication was produced to accompany the 40-year survey exhibition "June Edmonds: Full Spectrum" organized by and presented at the Laband Art Gallery at Loyola Marymount University from September 25, 2021 to March 13, 2022. The exhibition featured approximately 40 artworks made between 1980 and 2021, includes essays by Karen Rapp, Director of Laband Art Gallery and dr. jill moniz, and is designed by Tasheka Arceneaux Sutton from Blacvoice Design.
June Edmonds: Full Spectrum is the first opportunity to place Edmonds’s artworks in dialogue with one another and to offer overdue critical attention to the artist’s lifelong commitment to portraying Black positivity in her artistic practice.
Beginning in 1980 during her undergraduate studies, Edmonds (b. 1959, Los Angeles, CA) brought a vitality to her figurative canvases by depicting her personal and authentic experience as a Black woman in detailed portraits of her domestic space. Given that many young artists today, especially young Black artists, have reintroduced the representational genre into the fore, Edmonds’s scenes of Black domesticity are viewed within a contemporary light.
Edmonds’s creative spectrum expanded from portraying narratives of Black people from her milieu to recuperating and commemorating the stories, events and people of color who have shaped our nation’s history. Her methods have changed too: over the last dozen years, she has invented a fresh language in her painting practice by embracing more abstracted visual forms. Her celebrated recent compositions of female subjectivity and American flags are made up of palpable, luscious abstracted brushstrokes applied methodically. These newer bodies of work have extended the metaphorical possibilities of her palette from the brighter earlier pictures to sublime shades of color that are inspired by a spectrum of dark skin tones.
This unprecedented viewing experience allows us to consider how Edmonds’s dedication to producing vibrant and intellectually rigorous work centering Black American experience is made manifest throughout her career. Indeed, Edmonds has always and already been on an experimental trajectory to complicate and claim vital narratives that speak to a more culturally rich art world.