Karla Diaz: Insomnia | Carla Jay Harris: A Season in the Wilderness | June Edmonds: Joy of Other Suns 👀

1110 Mateo St. Los Angeles CA, 90021
Sep 18, 3 PM - 6 PM — ends Oct 30, 2021
Karla Diaz: Insomnia
(pictured)

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce KARLA DIAZ: Insomnia, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view from September 4 through October 30, 2021, with an opening reception to be held on Saturday, September 18th from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Appointments are optional and may be made at luisdejesus.com/contact.

Karla Diaz is a writer, teacher, and multidisciplinary artist who engages in painting, installation, video, and performance. Using narrative to question identity, institutional power, and explore memory, her socially engaged practice generates exciting collaborations and provokes important dialogue among diverse communities. Notably, she is the co-founder of the socially engaged collective and community artist space Slanguage. Critical discourse is central to her practice as she explores social, subcultural, and marginalized stories.

Diaz’s latest body of work is the result of a year of insomnia. As a stroke survivor, she practices repetitive memory exercises, using drawing as a tool for excavating and retaining information. In her commitment to rendering a painting every night, Diaz turned to the unfiltered, spontaneous imagery that surfaced during her insomnia, whether dreams, fantasies, or memory. In her introspection, splashes of color became figures and objects that transformed into scenes of domesticity and city life drawn from her upbringing in Mexico and Los Angeles. Personal memories, folklore, familiar iconography of her Mexican heritage, and American pop culture are intertwined in surreal compositions that consider family, loss, and the complexities of the Latinx experience in the United States. As Diaz expresses, “these works reveal meaning in relation to others, to experience, to memory, to story, to dreams and dreamers, to imagination and to the larger context of home.”

Karla Diaz was born in Los Angeles, CA. She received an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2003 and a BA from California State University Los Angeles in 1999. Her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; LAXART, Hollywood, CA; Pitzer College, Claremont, CA; California State University Los Angeles, CA; San Jose Museum of Art, CA; Institute for Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, MI; the Serpentine Gallery, London, U.K.; and Museo Case de Cervantes, Madrid, Spain.

She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards from Art Matters, New York, NY; Tiffany Foundation, New York, NY; City of Los Angeles, CA; Riverside Art Museum, CA; and CalArts, Los Angeles, CA. Karla Diaz lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

For further information, including images and previews, please call 213-395-0762, or email: gallery@luisdejesus.com.

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Carla Jay Harris: A Season in the Wilderness

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce CARLA JAY HARRIS: A Season in the Wilderness, the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view from September 4 through October 30, 2021 with an opening reception to be held on Saturday, September 18th from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Appointments are optional and may be made at luisdejesus.com/contact.

With an interest in documenting intellectual, emotional, and psychological environments, Harris’ recent body of work, a development of her ongoing Celestial Bodies series begun in 2018, was created in direct response to the pandemic and social unrest that have gripped the world. In this series of large-scale works on paper, Harris crafts an allegory for grief featuring a collection of archetypal characters on an emotional journey through a surreal landscape. Narrative plays a fundamental role in this series which explores human nature, specifically themes of power, helplessness, loss, death, and rebirth. Elements of classic storytelling, including monomyth, conflict, and resolution, are imbued throughout the sequence. By transporting the viewer into her unique perception, Harris aims to inspire them to ask their own questions about life, time, and mortality.

Trained as a photographer and cinematographer, Carla Jay Harris developed a multidisciplinary practice that includes photography, installation, collage and drawing. Her works are inspired by a desire to bring together her interests in image-making, space, and storytelling. Harris's creative process begins with research and writing, drawing from scholars, interviews, local history, and her family archives to ground her work in lived experiences. Her work combines photography with diverse media and techniques. She photographs models in the studio according to the narrative that she is developing and builds images in layers through a digital collage process, incorporating her own original patterns, scenery, and textures, along with hand-painted embellishments.

Carla Jay Harris was born in Indianapolis, IN. She received her MFA from UCLA in 2015, a Bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Virginia, and completed post-Baccalaureate studies at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Harris’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; the Marjorie Barrick Museum of Art, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, CA; Museum of Fine Arts Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; Colorado Photographic Arts Center, Denver, CO; the Southern, Charleston, SC; Moorpark Gallery, Moorpark College, Ventura, CA; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; and Paris Photo, Grand Palais Ephemere, Paris, France. She was awarded a 2020 residency at ACRE in Steuben, WI, and has been the beneficiary of several grants and fellowships, including the Hoyt Scholarship, Resnick Fellowship and a grant from the Pasadena Art Alliance.

Harris’ works are included in the collections of USC Fischer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA; Escalette Permanent Collection of Art at Chapman University, Orange, CA; Museum of Fine Arts, Sherbrook, Quebec, Canada; Los Angeles County Public Art Collection, Los Angeles, CA; and numerous private collections. Carla Jay Harris lives and works in Los Angeles.

For further information, including images and previews, please call 213-395-0762, or email: gallery@luisdejesus.com.

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June Edmonds: Joy of Other Suns

Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce JUNE EDMONDS: Joy of Other Suns, the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. The exhibition will be on view from September 18 through October 30, 2021, with an opening reception to be held on Saturday, September 18th from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Appointments are optional and may be made at luisdejesus.com/contact.

Concurrently, Edmonds will be the subject of a 40-year survey exhibition titled JUNE EDMONDS: Full Spectrum, opening September 25th at Laband Art Gallery, Loyola Marymount University, in Los Angeles. The exhibition has been organized by Laband Gallery Director and Chief Curator Karen Rapp.

June Edmond’s latest body of work continues her exploration of race and history, using social abstraction as a means to navigate these complex issues. In her paintings, Edmonds commemorates the historical contributions of African American female pioneers and early landowners in Southern California. She is particularly drawn to the stories of Bridget “Biddy” Mason (1818-1891), former slave turned Los Angeles land owner, entrepreneur and philanthropist; María Rita Quintero Valdés de Villa (1791-1854), an African-Mexican and granddaughter of Luis Quintero, one of the original settlers of Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas (Ranch of the Gathering Waters)—known today as Beverly Hills; and Henrietta VanHorn-Debose (1855-1931), the first Black woman and early property owner to settle in La Jolla. Edmonds expands on these histories, considering the implications of the Great Migration in the 20th Century and how it fundamentally changed the United States.

In many of the works on view, Edmonds has departed from the layered impasto texture that has dominated her “energy circle” and flag paintings and employed a flatter application of paint. With this new development, she moves into a wider conversation about painting and geometric abstraction, with an emphasis on sharply defined edges, overlapping forms, clear composition, hard lines, minimal texture, and vibrant, pure color. The prominent leaf shapes in these paintings embody feminine energy and birth, while the sinuous curves allude to the geography and streets where these women lived, drawing parallels to the discriminatory practice of redlining and the racially restrictive covenants that created housing inequality in American cities. Edmonds points to the paradox of these trailblazing Black women once owning the very land of some of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the United States.

Throughout her career, Edmonds has been revisiting and redefining traditional Western color theory, exploring how profoundly color relates to emotion and trauma, and are thus able to express visual cues about power and systemic disenfranchisement. Edmonds has amplified these concepts in her public art, having recently completed a mural in La Jolla (Ebony on Draper and Girard) to honor the legacy of Black pioneers. By incorporating the forgotten narratives of Black Americans into her canvases and public art, the artist not only gives prominence to their stories, but encourages a dialogue about race, nationality, gender, and politics and the complex overlap of these identities.

The title of this exhibition, Joy of Other Suns, was inspired by Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, a historical study of the mass exodus of Black Americans from the South. This in turn was drawn from a poem by American author Richard Wright, reflecting on his own experience migrating from the South to Chicago in the 1920s:

I was leaving the South
To fling myself into the unknown…
I was taking a part of the South
To transplant in alien soil,
To see if it could grow differently,
If it could drink of new and cool rains,
Bend in strange winds,
Respond to the warmth of other suns
And, perhaps, to bloom.
– Richard Wright

In addition to her 40-year survey exhibition at Loyola Marymount University, Edmonds will be the subject of forthcoming solo exhibitions at Riverside Art Museum, Riverside, CA and University Art Gallery, California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, CA. She is the recipient of the inaugural 2020 AWARE Prize, presented at The Armory Show by the French non-profit Archive of Women Artists Research and Exhibitions; a 2018 City of Los Angeles Individual Artist Grant (COLA) and Exhibition at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; a California Arts Council Individual Artist Grant; Paducah Artist Residency in Kentucky; Helene Wurlitzer Foundation artist residency in Taos, NM; and Dorland Mountain Community artist residency in Temecula, CA. Edmonds has exhibited at the California African American Museum, Davis Museum of Art, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Luckman Fine Art Gallery at California State University Los Angeles, Watts Tower Art Center in Los Angeles, CA, Angels Gate Art Center in San Pedro, CA; and the Manhattan Beach Art Center in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Edmonds has completed several works of public art, most recently with Murals of La Jolla, with the city of Los Angeles and the Department of Cultural Affairs, including an installation at the MTA Pacific Station in Long Beach, CA. Her paintings are held in collections throughout the United States including the California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Mead Art Museum, Amhurst College, Amhurst, MA; Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; David Owsley Museum of Art at Ball State University, Muncie, IN; The Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH; as well as Rodney M. Miller Collection, New York, NY; Michael Rubel Collection, Los Angeles, CA: David Rogath Collection, Greenwich, CT; Gail and George L. Knox Collection, La Jolla, CA; and Kelly Williams and Andrew Forsyth Collection, Palm Beach, FL, among others.

For further information, including images and previews, please call 213-395-0762, or email: gallery@luisdejesus.com.