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June Wayne

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June Wayne
Contemporary (post 1945) Graphic Arts
(Chicago, IL, March 7, 1918 - August 23, 2011, Los Angeles, CA)

June Wayne was born in Chicago, Illinois on March 7, 1918 and left home by the time she was sixteen. She taught herself to paint and supported herself by working in factories. Wayne's first solo exhibition was in 1935 at the Boulevard Gallery in Chicago, and a year later she exhibited at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. In 1938, Wayne participated in the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project in Chicago, turning her focus permanently to art. Two years later, she met and married Dr. George Jerome Wayne. They moved to California in 1941, where Wayne studied technical drawing at the California Institute of Technology. She was certified in production illustration for the aircraft industry and would pursue an interest in optics and science later in her career. Wayne's work in lithography began in 1948. In 1952, the Los Angeles Times proclaimed her "Woman of the Year for Meritorious Achievement in Modern Art" for her show at the Pasadena Art Museum. Wayne was not satisfied with the lithographic tools available in the United States, so she went to Paris in 1957. There, she created her series 'John Donne Songs and Sonnets' in 1958. An extensive folio of her work in the Bibliotheque Nationale of France reflects her long liaison with Paris throughout her career. Upon her return to Los Angeles, Wayne acquired a studio on Tamarind Avenue in Hollywood. A grant from the Ford Foundation in 1960 allowed her to create the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, which revitalized fine art printmaking in the United States. During her years as director, Wayne had to set her own work aside to avoid conflicts of interest. She closed Tamarind in 1969, transferring operations to the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and resuming her career as an artist. Wayne's skills as a artist have taken form in paintings, prints, and even tapestries, shown in over 70 solo exhibitions throughout her career. During the 1940s and 1950s, she focused on narrative structure and symbolic content, drawing on literary influences. Works from this period include the 'Kafka Series' and 'Fables.' Between 1975-9, Wayne created the 'Dorothy Series,' a lithographic homage to her mother. In the 1970s and 1980s she turned to science and an exploration of optical effects in printmaking. She became fascinated by "the ineffably beautiful but hostile wilderness of astrophysical space." Her scientifically oriented works include the tapestry series 'Tidal Waves' and ‘Burning Helix,' the painting 'Temblor' (1992), as well as the lithographs 'Knockout' (1996) and 'Near Miss' (1996). Apart from creating art, Wayne has been a producer and an activist. She first wrote for television in the 1940s in Chicago, and in the 1970s and 1980s she wrote and hosted series for PBS about her own work. She produced the film 'Four Stones for Kanemitsu,' which was nominated for an Academy Award. She has always been an arts advocate, from her opposition to "Red-baiting" of artists in the 1950s, to service on numerous boards of directors. Her work was acknowledged in 1991, when Wayne received an Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Moore College in Philadelphia. In 1988, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art produced an exhibition of her work. 'June Wayne: A Retrospective' brought together over 100 works to explore the fifty-year career of this remarkable artist.


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