Stanley Edmondson: Stanley's Playground

Los Angeles

July 20 – September 14, 2024

Stanley Edmondson: Stanley's Playground

Installation View

Nicodim, Los Angeles, 2024

Press Release

“I’m making some toys and friends to take with me to my childhood.”

 

Stanley exhibited his first Gigantors at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Pasadena when he was ten years old. Somewhere, a photograph of them exists in the Pasadena Star News circa 1972. There were three of them, made out of clay, and they were thirty inches tall.

 

His Gigantors have grown since. Why the Gigantor? It is his friend and childhood companion. 

 

Stanley’s Gigantor is adapted from the anime popular in the 1960s, itself adapted from the 1950s manga popular in Japan. The Gigantor is a robot who has no soul. He’s a weapon disarmed by a little boy whose soul he embodies when the boy controls him. A perfect friend for a lonely child—a protective giant—an immortal, indestructible companion. 

 

Clay, Stanley’s medium of choice, is immortal too. Its soul comes from the artist whose hands shape it.

 

For Stanley’s Playground, the artist’s second solo exhibition at Nicodim, he has created a new series of Gigantors, this time using concrete, allowing his Gigantors to grow once again. 

 

These works are elemental. They are iconic. Stanley says he stands on the shoulders of giants—Peter Voulkos, Paul Soldner, Michael Frimkiss, Ynez Johnston, John Mason. The son of an artist, Stanley grew up amongst these giants.

 

And Stanley’s giants stand on the shoulders of giants. These figures are part of a long conversation man has been having with himself since his days living in a cave. The colossal figure remains a primary concern of humans—who are creators—unsure of their origin story, unsure of their own creations even, but sensing their resonance, their power. 

 

Stanley’s art is born of the child’s world of play. Play is even older than art, older than humans even. It is primordial. Clay is primordial too. It is matter, or mater, mother. Stanley connects the dots between these two states: the matter state of clay, and the ethereal state of play which exists in the space between us—a spark, a light, a temporal state—and one that can be found over and over again.

 

Stanley’s work is his world. And we are invited into it. 

 

— Megan Whitmarsh

Stanley Edmondson (b. 1962, Pasadena) is a Los Angeles based artist whose singular ceramic based practice is deeply influenced by his close relationships to artists and mentors over the years such as Peter Voulkos, Michael Frimkess, John Mason, and his late father, Leonard Edmondson. (Leonard Edmondson was the Chairman of the Design Department at Otis Art Institute during California’s revolution in clay sculpture.) Working predominantly with homemade clay, Edmondson embraces the Bauhaus practice of weaving craft with fine art and the technical challenges of fabrication. Edmondson’s works are reminiscent of the California Funk Art Movement, but take deeper inspiration from 1960s and 70s comics and anime. In recent years, Edmondson has aided in the practices of contemporary artists Roger Herman, Ruby Neri, and Kenny Scharf. Exhibitions include He had it since he first got it, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami (2023, solo); Stanley Edmondson, Sea View, Los Angeles (2023, solo); Feeling Without Touching, Nicodim, New York (2023); Stanley’s Circus, Nicodim, Los Angeles (2021, solo); Stanley Edmondson, Sebastian Gladstone, Los Angeles (2020, solo); Alchemy, Lefebvre et Fils, Paris (2018, solo); Clay for John Mason, South Willard, Los Angeles (2017, solo); Lifted Spirits, Los Angeles Arboretum, Arcadia (2015), and Outdoor Exhibition, Maloof Foundation, Rancho Cucamonga (2014).