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Melvin Edwards

Lynch Fragments

1960s–Present

Memory of Winter, 1996

Memory of Winter, 1996
Welded steel
13h x 6.75w x 8.63d in (33.02h x 17.14w x 21.91d cm)

Angola, 1992, Welded steel

Angola, 1992

Welded steel

11.75h x 10.25w x 12d in (29.85h x 26.04w x 30.48d cm)

His and Hers, 1964, Welded steel

His and Hers, 1964

Welded steel

10.75h x 6w x 4.25d in (27.31h x 15.24w x 10.80d cm)

Ogun Again, 1988, Welded steel

Ogun Again, 1988

Welded steel

8.30h x 9.80w x 9.50d in (21.08h x 24.89w x 24.13d cm)

Ile Ogun, 2003, Welded steel

Ile Ogun, 2003

Welded steel

12.50h x 10w x 7.50d in (31.75h x 25.40w x 19.05d cm)

His, 1963, Welded steel

His, 1963

Welded steel

11.75h x 6.25w x 6d in (29.85h x 15.88w x 15.24d cm)

At Crossroads, 1984, Welded steel

At Crossroads, 1984

Welded steel

10.50h x 8w x 8.88d in (26.67h x 20.32w x 22.54d cm)

Kikongo si, 1992, Welded steel

Kikongo si, 1992

Welded steel

10h x 16.80w x 16.80d in (25.40h x 42.67w x 42.67d cm)

Poetry, 2012, Welded steel

Poetry, 2012

Welded steel

10.50h x 7.75w x 9.75d in (26.67h x 19.69w x 24.77d cm)

For Makina Kameya, 1988, Welded steel

For Makina Kameya, 1988

Welded steel

13.50h x 11.25w x 10.38d in (34.29h x 28.58w x 26.35d cm)

Ekuafo, 1994, Welded steel

Ekuafo, 1994

Welded steel

15.63h x 10.75w x 8.38d in (39.69h x 27.31w x 21.27d cm)

Jom Time, 1998, Welded steel

Jom Time, 1998

Welded steel

11.88h x 8.50w x 7.38d in (30.16h x 21.59w x 18.73d cm)

For Egypt, 1980, Welded steel

For Egypt, 1980

Welded steel

9.75h x 9.13w x 5.25d in (24.77h x 23.18w x 13.34d cm)

Libya, 2012, Welded steel

Libya, 2012

Welded steel

13.75h x 7.50w x 8d in
(34.93h x 19.05w x 20.32d cm)

Mali, 2007, Welded steel

Mali, 2007

Welded steel

10.75h x 8.75w x 5.75d in (27.31h x 22.23w x 14.61d cm)

24 Sud Foire, 2003, Welded steel

24 Sud Foire, 2003

Welded steel

12.50h x 8.50w x 7d in (31.75h x 21.59w x 17.78d cm)

Melvin Edwards, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2014)

Melvin Edwards, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2014)

Melvin Edwards, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2014)

Melvin Edwards, installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2014)

Description

Melvin Edwards
Lynch Fragments
1960s–Present

Melvin Edwards' Lynch Fragments highlight the artist’s exploration of intersectional identity, social justice, and political awareness. The series spans three periods: the early 1960s, when Edwards responded to racial violence in the United States; the early 1970s, when his activism concerning the Vietnam War motivated him to return to the series; and from 1978 to the present, when he began honoring individuals, exploring notions of nostalgia, and investigating his personal interest in African culture. As small wall reliefs, the Lynch Fragments bridge a gap between painting and sculpture. The dimensions and placement of the works are crucial to their effect, evoking the human head and the attendant complexities and nuances of identity, both personal and—with their suggestion of African masks—political. 

Recognized as a pioneer in the history of contemporary African American art and sculpture, Edwards’ approach to welding began in 1960 while studying at the University of Southern California. Drawn to making assemblages of individual parts both found and created, he noticed that the objects suggested forms, reinforcing the relationship between material and image that has since become a foundation of the artist’s oeuvre. Further, Edwards looked to the use of these steel industrial and agricultural objects to lend varying cultural, social, and political connotations to his sculptures’ modernist structures. As the artist remarks, sculpture “… seemed to me a more direct way to deal with the inner subject. Sculpture allowed me to put in, in a more natural way, things that people were saying you weren't supposed to put in art, like race and politics. It allowed me to think more literally in those ways but have it come out in the work abstractly.” 

Many Lynch Fragments reflect Edwards' engagement with Africa. The artist’s first visit in the 1970s coincided with a key moment in the continent's history as recently independent countries began to define their postcolonial identities. Eventually establishing a studio in Dakar, Senegal in 2000, Edwards draws inspiration from Africa’s varied metalworking traditions, histories, and languages, as well as the friendships and personal relationships he has forged there.