June Harwood Remembrance

June Harwood

 
Repetition with variation is constant in all of my work. It seems that in nature that no two blades of grass are exactly the same—no two snowflakes, no waves in the ocean, and so on. Repetition with variation for the painter, poet, or composer is generally accepted as a natural progression. It’s the Yin and the Yang. It completes the harmony of life—sameness and difference.
— June Harwood, in a 2011 interview with Julie Karabenick of Geoform

June Harwood 1933 - 2015

With great sadness, the gallery must acknowledge the passing of a local treasure – the wonderful Hard Edge painter and beloved teacher June Harwood. 

Though she was born in Middletown New York, graduating from Syracuse University with a degree in studio art, Los Angeles became her life-long creative home.  She met and married noted California art critic, Jules Langsner here.  In the warmth of West Coast light, her adherence to the more formal aspects of painting gave way to a freewheeling investigation of non-objective color forms and spatial relationships.  This work earned her entre into a notable group of groundbreaking Los Angeles based artists whose initial moniker, included in the title of the 1959 exhibition that announced their arrival, was “Abstract Classicists.”  By 1964, in another equally important exhibition (California Hard-Edge Painting), June was one of the featured artists.            

Over the years, her work has been widely exhibited and is represented throughout California in museum as well as private collections.  Also, in conjunction with her ongoing art practice, June spent just over two decades on the faculty at Valley College – a clear-eyed and well-respected teacher whose fan base seemed to swell with every passing year.

At the gallery, we will remember June as a sparkling personality, ever on the verge of a shrewd observation or perhaps just a wink of the eye.  She somehow maintained the aura of the reasoned bohemian she had once been – Beat-era poetry readings and jazz et al – as well as a dedicated working artist.  We were looking forward to celebrating her work later this month with our exhibition, JUNE HARWOOD - Splinter, Divide and Flow: Paintings from 1967-1977.

Though the exhibition will go forward, as we know June would have wanted, the spring in our step will be muted.  It’s our first June Harwood exhibition without June.  Though she is ever present in the bright colors and clean lines of her canvases, we will keep our eyes on the front door.  We will be looking for June, waiting for her entrance.  We will miss her.