“The arts are the rain forests of society. They produce the oxygen of freedom, and they are the early warning system when freedom is in danger.” (June Wayne)
June Wayne was an American printmaker, tapestry designer, painter, educator, AND the founder of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop in Los Angeles which later moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Under the leadership of June Wayne, the Tamarind Workshop/Institute “rescued” lithography from becoming a forgotten medium and helped post WWII artists maintain and push artistic freedom forward through printmaking. June Wayne was a prolific printmaker and painter in her own right, but she also had a vision during the 1950s and 1960s that helped preserve a powerful medium from falling into disuse. Not only did Wayne and others who believed in her vision and joined Tamarind in the 1960s save printmaking, Wayne and Tamarind created the resurgence in printmaking in the United States AND throughout the world.
In the 1970s, Tamarind left Los Angeles and affiliated with the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, but Wayne’s founding precepts are still in place today at the Institute. Even though Wayne stepped down as the principal leader as she turned her boundless energies back to her studio, she remained an active participant and a close advisor to the workshop until her death in 2011.
Throughout much of Wayne’s studio career, this American printmaker and painter explored identity, surveillance, and human interaction. Wayne often collaborated with fellow printmaker James Ensor producing “macabre self-portraits”.
What are your thoughts on Wayne’s efforts to save, preserve, and resurrect printmaking as a viable medium and her lifeline interest in identity as a sustained avenue of artistic exploration?