June Edmonds, Olé, Oil on canvas, 2016. Purchased with funds from the Escalette Endowment.

In honor of Woman’s History Month, we are highlighting some of the work acquired by the Escalette Collection of Art this year as part of the Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race Initiative.

Olé by artist June Edmonds is an explosion of color and texture, full of movement and passion. The painting seems to rotate in kaleidoscopic motion, the thickly layered paint almost oozing off the canvas. Her abstract color works are inspired by quilts and other vibrant textiles, such as African fabrics.

Edmonds is an L.A.-based artist who uses abstract painting to explore how color, pattern, movement, and balance can channel spiritual contemplation and foster interpersonal connections to her African-American roots. She recently spoke at Chapman as part of the Visual Thinker’s Lecture Series, hosted by the Art Department (watch the recording here). Edmonds was always interested in art growing up. After a trip to the art museums in Washington D.C., she decided to pursue Art at San Diego State and an M.F.A. in Painting at the Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia.

She describes her early college works as “figurative interior paintings” that reflect her life in content and pay homage to the artists she was inspired by. These works feature the bold colors and patterns of African fabrics included within her life as an undergrad. She experimented with abstraction after receiving a residency grant at Dorland Mountain Community in Temecula, California. She has created many notable works, but Edmonds is most well known for her series of flag paintings. She uses the same short, thick strokes seen in her other abstract paintings to create the American Flag, but with Black and Brown skin tones. She names these flags after Black Americans who laid down their lives for her as a Black woman.

Edmonds has paintings in galleries all over America, and of course, our very own Escalette Collection. We are also happy to announce that she will be joining Chapman’s teaching staff for Fall 2021 and will be teaching the Painting and Mark Making course.

We invite you to explore all the works in the Escalette Collection by visiting our eMuseum

Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is the proud home of the Phyllis and Ross Escalette Permanent Collection of Art. The Escalette Collection exists to inspire critical thinking, foster interdisciplinary discovery, and strengthen bonds with the community. Beyond its role in curating art in public spaces, the Escalette is a learning laboratory that offers diverse opportunities for student and engagement and research, and involvement with the wider community. The collection is free and open to the public to view.