About the artist:
June Claire Wayne (March 7, 1918 – August 23, 2011) was an American painter, printmaker, tapestry innovator, educator, and activist. She founded Tamarind Lithography Workshop (1960–1970), a then California-based nonprofit print shop dedicated to lithography.
“My work method is the scientific method” June Wayne asserted. “Being an artist is a lot like being a detective. The task of the artist is always to notice, digest, and comment on what is going on. We do it whether we’re aware of it or not. My model has always been Sherlock Holmes. I am always interested in the dog that didn’t bark in the night. What does a negative shape mean? I want to explore the thing you don’t know about.”
The extraordinary advances in space exploration and genetics made during the mid-twentieth century were essential to Wayne’s artistic process and art, and her exploration of these new discoveries were unique. Her scientific knowledge came both from her reading and through her personal connections with leading scientists. In the 1950’s she became friends with Harrison Brown, a nuclear physicist who taught at the California Institute of Technology. Friendships or associations with other scientists followed, including Richard Feynman, Jonas Salk, inventor of the Polio vaccine, and a number of contacts at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which became the world center for space exploration in the 1960s.
“The artist roams those areas of modern thought where differences between art and science, art and music, or art and writing blur. This is where Wayne’s conceptual and technical innovations are apt to happen. She imagines the aesthetic meanings and shapes of ideas, whether in quantum physics, in fugues, or in the disturbances of perception due to optical interferences. She is also energized by structural possibilities as distinct as those in musical composition or the design of bridges and aircraft. The double helix of DNA itself was a source for several years of Wayne’ image making in the early 1970’s.” “She depicted scientific discoveries in poetic rather than illustrative ways […] recognizing that too close a relationship to the facts work against the metaphysical and aesthetic potentials” - Jay Belloli
In 1971, after the transfer of Tamarind Lithography Workshop to the University of New Mexico, Wayne traveled to France. She had deep ties to the country, having created her John Donne series in the 50’s there, and developed friendships with master printers such as Marcel Durassier, who was the printmaker for artists including Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Marc Chagall and more. Looking for new media, and encouraged by friend Madeleine Jarry, Inspecteur Principal du Mobilier National et des Manufactures des Gobelins et de Beauvais, Wayne began designing tapestries in France at the famed Gobelins factory. “June Wayne’s involvement with each and every aspect of the tapestry process was total—that is to say she did not just turn over her life-sized cartoons to one of the three studios involved in the selection of the woolen yarns and their spinning. Decisions as to their thickness and ply also concerned her, as did issues about their precise shading and hues when it came to dyeing of the yarns, the play of light and shade created through the individual stitches or points, and the intersections where the warp and weft threads interacted. She also made the cartoons in full scale, glueing them on a muslin sheet for durability. Even after all aspects had been decided upon she did not disappear, leaving the weavers on their own. Instead, she returned often to check on their work and make sure that everything was progressing as she envisioned it.
During her time collaborating with the French ateliers, Wayne created twelve tapestry images, all of which had fewer than four examples, and some destroyed as not to her liking. In the tapestry designs, Wayne continued to express her fascination with the connections between art, science, and politics, often creating designs based on images she had initially produced in other media.