VONN SUMNER’s “New Ancient Pictures” reviewed in the Washington Post

19 Nov

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November 13 at 12:40 PM

 

Vonn Sumner

Would it be misleading to call Vonn Sumner’s art “Homeric?” The California artist’s “New Ancient Pictures” features paintings of men he calls “warriors” rendered in a blue-free palette partly inspired by the lack of that color in the language of the “Iliad” and “Odyssey.” But the Morton Fine Art show doesn’t literally portray classical-world combatants. The four warrior pictures are self-portraits of a sort, and feature a man who carries a garbage can and lid as armor and shield, and a broom as his sword. Other paintings have even less connection to heroic legends of the bygone Mediterranean.

Sumner is a representational artist who explores traditional media. These pieces are mostly oils on panels, and a previous Morton show included his temperas. But the artist demonstrates his modernity by working from photos — often of himself — and using large blocks of pure color. He flattens perspective, which suits such paintings as “Pink Theatre,” a depiction of a shallowly articulated building facade. Among the surrealist elements are elaborate masks and, in “Hovering,” a figure who’s prone in midair. The least interesting picture in the series is “Palette 1,” an abstraction that really isn’t one: It’s actually a daubed record of all the reds, grays and blacks that Sumner used to paint this un-blued demimonde.

New Ancient Pictures: Vonn Sumner On view through Nov. 21 at Morton Fine Art, 1781 Florida Ave. NW. 202-628-2787.www.mortonfineart.com.

Pink Theatre, 24"x24", oil on panel

Pink Theatre, 24″x24″, oil on panel

 

Vonn Sumner, Hovering, 24"x24", oil on panel

Vonn Sumner, Hovering, 24″x24″, oil on panel

 

VONN SUMNER, Palette 1, 2015, 33"x28", oil on jutte

VONN SUMNER, Palette 1, 2015, 33″x28″, oil on jutte

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