LEONARD EDMONDSON is a paradox. His works of the '40s and '50s exhibit virile, youthful rhythms and colors that stimulate the senses with the excitement of discovery. . .but fifty years later, LEONARD EDMONDSON's mature work still startles the viewer with the challenge of unfolding mysteries.
With a focus upon the early works, this exhibition presents prints employing many techniques--intaglio: etching, aquatint and soft ground; planographpic: lithography; stencil: screenprinting.
Color predominates, though a full range of tones through black ink only is seen in the lithographs and in two or three painterly etchings with aquatint. In the color intaglios particularly, elemental gestures allude to frenzied dance and contrapuntal melodies(see: Heralds of Inquiry or Circumstance of Action). Simultaneously, the viewer is reminded of the two-dimensional paper through the flatness of the unmodulated forms.
Two lithographs--Initiation and Projective Agent, were created in the studio of master printer Lynton Kistler in 195l. They offer a touch of the surreal in their pseudo-anthropomorphism.
Melting mists of transparent colors create the illusion of a limitless universe in Edmondsons's 1954/55 screenprints. In Failing Light, abstract elements become half-recognizable figures in boundless space--space that is created through the artist's use of extended tonal values and overlapping shapes.
The artist invokes dreams of 'almost remembered' forms, feelings and spaces. From dense fabrics of complex lines-- laid in and scratched out--to misty ethers with elusive semi-figures, he creates visual enigmas.
LEONARD EDMONDSON was born in l9l6 in Sacramento, California and earned his BA and MA in Fine Arts at the University of California, Berkeley. After a four year stint with the Army between 1942 and 1946, his first teaching position brought him to Pasadena City College. His work in the classroom became the linking thread until his retirement from California State University, Los Angeles in 1986 as a full Professor. During those forty years, though he was also 'guest professor' at many institutions, he held chairmanships of the Printmaking departments at CSULA and at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. Retirement has allowed him greater freedom to accept additional visiting positions around the United States AND to 'pursue the muse' through his personal work.
Over the steady course of these fifty-plus years, invitational exhibitions were also demanding of his attention--as a juror, as a symposium panelist or as a participant in one-person, competitive, annual and group shows. . .from the Whitney, the Brooklyn and the Metropolitan Museums in New York to L.A.C.M.A., Oakland, Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Barbara, S.F.M.M.A, La Jolla, Laguna Art Museums in California; from the Library of Congress and the American Academy of Arts to international venues in Japan, Switzerland, Brazil and Italy. His techniques fostered admiration and imitation leading to 'how-to' books (Etching, CSULA Press, 1973), prizes and commissions.
Edmondson enjoyed making art. Though he has openly stated that, it isn't necessary for him to say so because his art reveals that pleasure. In his work, Edmondson shows a confidence, a vigor, an engaging 'thrust and parry' between the strokes, stabs, gestures, splashes and lines. Strident and cacphonous dialogues contrast with soothing, mellifluous murmurings..the expressions are assertive and, yet, balanced. Throughout all is a great sense of movement, of evolution--of asymmetrical symmetry--definitely a 'moving experience'. Best of all, LEONARD EDMONDSON enjoyed making his art..and sharing that pleasure with the viewer!
For the 1995 exhibition Sensory Memory-Images Prints, Paintings and Watercolors and Drawings of the 1940s and 1950s
Mr. Edmonson passed away in July, 2002.
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