The Roster: June Leaf

last edited on Mon. April 11 2016

The fantasist.

“[June] Leaf’s view of the world is one of inter-relating public and private theaters of existence,”[1] wrote critic Dennis Adrian.

Leaf (b. 1929, Chicago) was more whimsical than some of the Monster Roster artists, with an active fantasy life that she explored on canvases and in drawings and prints. Paintings from the mid-1950s, like Arcade Women, featured an ominous perspectival grid, crossing lines articulating a matrix in which figures are caught. By the 1960s, she was making painted sculptural objects, including Vermeer Box (1966), a masterpiece of subjective and spatial disorientation.

She settled in Nova Scotia in 1970, after living in New York for nearly a decade.

[1] Dennis Adrian, “June Leaf: The Graphic Work,” in June Leaf: Prints 1952–1990, ed. Rolf Achilles and Dennis Adrian, exh. broch. (Chicago: Chicago Cultural Center, 1995), p. 3.

[2] June Leaf, quoted in June Leaf: A Survey of Painting, Sculpture and Works on Paper 1948–1991, ed. Philip Brookman and Lucy Lippard, exh. cat. (Washington, DC: Washington Project for the Arts, 1991), p. 27.

This text was adapted from John Corbett’s “Introducing: The Roster” in the Monster Roster exhibition catalogue.

“What I really want to do is make people, from the inside out.”

—June Leaf [2]

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