Archive | April, 2023

ANDREI PETROV | The Washington Post

29 Apr

In the galleries: Landmark show lauds two iconic artists

Also: A multi-artist exhibit spans nearly a century of the Black experience in America; two artists deal with the war in Ukraine indirectly with personal and esoteric approaches.

Review by Mark Jenkins

April 28, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

Leonets & Petrov

No signs of war are evident in Jaroslav Leonets’s and Andrei Petrov’s recent work, but their paintings respond to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Leonets’s landscapes depict a land of rustic beauty, barely touched by mankind but achingly vulnerable. Petrov’s landscape-influenced abstractions refer to an earlier period in the region’s history, yet were sparked by the Russian onslaught.

Leonets is a Kyiv resident who began painting rural Ukrainian scenes before the full-blown war began. His Amy Kaslow Gallery show, “Documenting Landscapes: Ukraine’s Vanishing Terrain,” features nine impressionistic oils made between 2019 and 2022. They’re painted primarily with sunny hues, yet with areas deepened by shadow. The majority of them feature bodies of water alluringly splashed with reflected light.

Andrei Petrov’s “Fugitive Sun,” in his exhibit “Footprints in the Snow.” (Andrei Petrov/Morton Fine Art)

Similar highlights characterize most of the oils in Petrov’s Morton Fine Art show. But as indicated by the show’s title, “Footprints in the Snow,” the reflections play on white fields rather than blue lakes or rivers. Petrov is a D.C.-born New Yorker whose suite of pictures was inspired by his grandfather’s 1915 escape from a Siberian labor camp, a flight that took him to China and eventually the United States. Petrov is partly of Ukrainian heritage, and the Russian assault motivated him to revisit this chapter in his family history.

Both artists apply pigment thickly, but after that, their methods diverge. Leonets’s technique is as traditional as his imagery; clouds and cliffs alike are rendered with thick but loose gestures. Petrov applies layers of color that he then cracks and partly removes. Many of his pictures are defined by fissures that suggest the collision of tectonic plates. This signature move is visually striking, but also thematically suggestive: The fractures suggest breaks in the timeline or lives shattered by history. Where Leonets’s landscapes appear pretty but threatened, Petrov’s abstractions conjure centuries of ruin and loss.

Jaroslav Leonets: Documenting Landscapes: Ukraine’s Vanishing Terrain Through May 7 at Amy Kaslow Gallery, 7920 Norfolk Ave., Bethesda.

Andrei Petrov: Footprints in the Snow Through May 7 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302.0Comments

KATHERINE HATTAM | Archibald Prize 2023 Finalist | The Guardian

27 Apr

Archibald prize 2023 finalists: Sam Neill, Archie Roach, Claudia Karvan and more – in pictures

 Kirthana Selvaraj’s painting ‘Ramesh and the blue figure with snake’, of artist Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran. Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSW

The 57 finalists for the 2023 Archibald prize have been revealed by the Art Gallery of NSW. Here is a selection of this year’s finalists, including portraits by Anh Do, Sarah McCloskey and Oliver Watts. The full group can be seen at the gallery’s website.

On 5 May the winning painting will be announced. The $100,000 prize is awarded to the best portrait of a person ‘distinguished in art, letters, science or politics’ painted by an Australian resident.

The finalists for the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes will be on show at AGNSW from 6 May to 3 September

Wed 26 Apr 2023 21.30 EDTLast modified on Wed 26 Apr 2023 23.54 EDT

  • Claudia (the GOAT) by Laura Jones Sitter: Claudia Karvan Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWClaudia (the GOAT) by Laura JonesSitter: Claudia Karvan
  • Seeing Ruby by Anh Do Sitter: Archie Roach Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWSeeing Ruby by Anh DoSitter: Archie Roach
  • Katharine Murphy by Judith Sinnamon Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWShaKatharine Murphy by Judith Sinnamon
  • Through the window by Jaq Grantford Sitter: Noni Hazlehurst Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWThrough the window by Jaq GrantfordSitter: Noni Hazlehurst
  • Sam I Am by James Powditch Sitter: Sam Neill Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWSam I Am by James PowditchSitter: Sam Neill
  • The songwriter by Michelle Hiscock Sitter: Don Walker Photograph: Jenni Carter/Image © Art Gallery of New SouthThe songwriter by Michelle HiscockSitter: Don Walker
  • Clown jewels by Andrea Huelin Sitter: Cal Wilson Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWClown jewels by Andrea Huelin Sitter: Cal Wilson
  • Echoes of a teenage superstar by Matt Adnate Sitter: Daniel Johns Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWEchoes of a teenage superstar by Matt AdnateSitter: Daniel Johns
  • Self-portrait after MD 2 by Abdul Abdullah Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWSelf-portrait after MD 2 by Abdul Abdullah
  • Zoe by Kim Leutwyler Sitter: Zoe Terakes Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWSZoe by Kim LeutwylerSitter: Zoe Terakes
  • Nanna Mara by Tsering Hannaford Sitter: Berry Malcolm Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWNanna Mara by Tsering HannafordSitter: Berry Malcolm
  • Heidi May, Elle Charalambu and the artist at Redleaf Pool by Oliver Watts Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWArchibald Prize 2023 finalist, Oliver Watts ‘Heidi May, Elle Charalambu and the artist at Redleaf Pool’, acrylic on canvas, 183 x 243.5 cm © the artist, image © Art Gallery of New South Wales, Jenni Carter .
  • Solomon Kammer: never enough by Alanah Ellen Brand Sitter: Solomon Kammer Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWSolomon Kammer: never enough by Alanah Ellen BrandSitter: Solomon Kammer
  • The nightingale and the kookaburra by Katherine Hattam Sitter: Drusilla Modjeska Photograph: AGNSWKatherine Hattam ‘The nightingale and the kookaburra – portrait of Drusilla Modjeska’
  • Social distancing by Sarah McCloskey Sitter: Omar Musa Photograph: Jenni Carter/AGNSWSocial distancing by Sarah McCloskeySitter: Omar Musa

Available Artwork by KATHERINE HATTAM

KATHERINE HATTAM | National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

11 Apr



Free entry

The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Fed Square
Level 2

View on map

Katherine Hattam
(b. 1950, Wurundjeri Country / Melbourne. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Katherine Hattam works across painting, drawing, collage, printmaking and sculpture, with her practice frequently interrogating language, particularly the written word, as well as dialects of domesticity, family and the self.

Two-sided and suspended in space, Our list, 2020, continues Hattam’s practice of infusing her works with the objects and influences that have shaped her. Recent works, including this one, have been created in response to Philip Guston’s 1973 painting Pantheon, in which Guston listed a personal canon of European male painters. In Our list, Hattam rewrites the record with a new list resulting from a survey of 200 peers regarding their favourite women artists – Australian and international, living and dead. Reflecting on these works in an essay for the 2020 exhibition Katherine Hattam: The Landscape of Language, Dr Anne Norton writes:

Hattam’s Pantheon is collaborative where Guston’s was individual, and though hers refuses his implicit universalism, hers is larger, encompassing more kinds of work, more spaces, peoples and cultures. Guston’s was an avowal, it sought to settle. Hattam’s is unsettling. Guston’s list is an answer, Hattam’s list questions … Hattam reminds us of the people we do not know, the work we missed, of rents and wounds, elisions and concealments.

Hattam held her first exhibition in 1978 at Melbourne’s Ewing and George Paton Gallery, alongside Helen Frankenthaler, and has exhibited regularly ever since. Her work is held in most of Australia’s major public collections, including those of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Deakin and La Trobe Universities, Warrnambool Art Gallery, Monash University of Modern Art, and Bendigo Art Gallery, as well as in private and corporate collections including George Patterson, Minter Ellison, National Bank of Australia, Potter Warburg, Smorgon, the Darling Foundation and RACV. She has won the Banyule and Robert Jacks drawing prizes, and has been shortlisted in the Sulman Prize, the Dobell Drawing Prize, the National Works on Paper prize, and the Arthur Guy and Geelong Gallery painting prizes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in literature and politics from the University of Melbourne (1974), an Master of Fine Art (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts (1992) and a PhD from Deakin University (2004).

Contact Morton Fine Art for additional information and acquisition of KATHERINE HATTAM’s “My Blue Pantheon” (see image below).

Available artwork by KATHERINE HATTAM

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER | The Daily Cartoonist

8 Apr

Of Cartooning and Cartoonists

D. D. Degg

06 mins

Willie Ito, Michael Maslin, Vonn Sumner, Charlie Daniel, Ed Steckley, Trina Robbins, Lee Mars, Jules Rivera, more

Long time animator (1954 – 1999) who frequently dabbled in other comic arts …

I also was involved with magazine cartoons (Car-Toons magazine in the 1950s), comic strips (four episodes of the annual Disney Christmas comic strip for King Features), comic books (the five Beany and Cecil comic books 1962-1963) and doing subcontract work for other production studios.

… Willie Ito on his long career presented by Jim Korkis at Cartoon Research.

Norbert by Jerry DeFucchio and Willie Ito, a never-was comic strip © respective owners

Further reading: Lambiek Comiclopedia Willie Ito entry.

Michael Maslin has contributed “drawings” to The New Yorker since 1977 …

© Michael Maslin

One of the many things I’ve liked (alright, loved) about working for The New Yorker is the absence of pressure the magazine places on its cartoonists. The absence itself is purposeful: we (“we” being the cartoonists) are allowed complete freedom to pursue our work.

Michael describes his work habits regarding submitting cartoons to The New Yorker.

Second Nature is a curiously familiar solo exhibition of brand-new paintings on paper and canvas by artist Vonn Cummings Sumner. Familiar, that is, if you’re a follower of George Herriman’s influential comic strip character Krazy Kat and her unrequited love for brick-throwing Ignatz the Mouse.

© Vonn Cummings Sumner

Stephen Heller interviews artist Vonn Cummings Sumner for Print Mag.

That is a really interesting question. I think that has to do with the times—the difference between Modern and Postmodern, perhaps? But also it has to do with the medium: A cartoon strip has its history/language/conventions and a painting has its history/language/conventions. I hold humor very high in the hierarchy of artistic values.

It is fitting that his talents will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award during the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame ceremonies Friday, March 24, at The Foundry.

photo via the East Tennesee Writers Hall of Fame

The talent is Charlie Daniel, and prior to the honor his friend Sam Venable at Knoxville News Sentinel profiles and roasts Charlie with some rejection slips from magazines and newspapers.

Saturday Evening Post: “(Your work) is not quite suited to our needs.”

Growing up, Ed Steckley dreamed of contributing to MAD Magazine and being a part of “Saturday Night Live.” The 2018 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater graduate achieved both goals through a varied career that he attributes to a message on the campus bulletin board.

Rube Goldberg © Jennifer George and Ed Steckley; photo: Ed Steckley

Illustrator/cartoonist/caricaturist Ed Steckley is named UW-Whitewater 2023 Distinguished Alumnus for Professional Achievement. Dave Fidlin, for UW-W, interviews Ed about the honor and his 30 year career.

Comics artist and historian Trina Robbins and cartoonist Lee Marrs were the BIG NAMES at the Cartoon Art Museum‘s Women’s Comics Marketplace earlier this month. Jules (Mark Trail) Rivera and a dozen other women cartoonists were also there.

photos via Bay City News

Marrs, a Berkeley resident, created the comic book series, “The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp,” which was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2017, the highest honor bestowed in the comic book world.

In 1972, Robbins, a San Francisco resident, wrote and drew a short story called “Sandy Comes Out,” starring the first lesbian comic-book character outside of pornography. Shifting gears, she began drawing for DC Comics in the 1980s, and since then has authored several books and continues to write and draw comics.

Janis Mara, Bay City News, attended and talked to the cartoonists.

Available artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER | The Washington Post | Second Nature

6 Apr


In the galleries: An artist’s modern visions of a retro cartoon

Review by Mark Jenkins

March 31, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT

“Krazy Pumpkin” by Vonn Cummings Sumner, included in his exhibit “Second Nature.” (Vonn Cummings Sumner/Morton Fine Art)

Seeking an everyman as a focus for his recent paintings, Vonn Cummings Sumner found a cat — or kat, as the word was spelled in George Herriman’s 1913-1944 comic strip, “Krazy Kat.” Sumner had been introduced to Herriman’s work by his teacher, noted painter Wayne Thiebaud, in the 1990s. But it wasn’t until 2020 that Sumner began painting Krazy as the bemused observer of dumpster fires both actual and metaphorical. Two years later, the California artist dispatched the cartoon feline into the great outdoors for the paintings in “Second Nature,” his latest Morton Fine Art show.

The original Krazy Kat was usually portrayed in a highly stylized version of Arizona’s Painted Desert. Summer’s recent paintings place him — or her, as Herriman declined to specify the character’s gender — in greener, more naturalistic climes. Krazy’s cartoonishness contrasts the realistically rendered grass, trees and sky, as well as animals such as the horse Krazy rides in two paintings that echo Degas equestrian sculptures. There are exceptions to this schema: In a few pictures the backdrops are flattened and streamlined in the manner of Matisse, and the most vivid canvas places a tiny Krazy in the surrealistic presence of a massive orange pumpkin with a red sun on the horizon of a fuchsia sky.

Sumner toys with Krazy’s persona, giving him a carrot for a Bugs Bunny-like prop in “What’s Up, Kat?” Yet the foreboding of the dumpster-fire paintings seems to have followed Krazy into Eden, where the cat is sometimes trailed by a snake. Perhaps the serpent’s undulating shape is just a visual echo of Krazy’s tail, which is as jagged as the cartoon lightning bolt that bisects the sky in “Krazy Storm.” In Sumner’s paintings, the symbols are open to interpretation, as they are in the work of another Herriman fan, Philip Guston. (“Second Nature” was scheduled to overlap the current Guston retrospective at the National Gallery of Art.) What’s clear, though, is that Sumner’s Krazy occupies a world that is as uneasy and off-kilter as Herriman’s.

Vonn Cummings Sumner: Second Nature Through April 8 at Morton Fine Art, 52 O St. NW, No. 302. Open by appointment.

Available artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER | Art Plugged | Second Nature

6 Apr

Vonn Cummings Sumner: Second Nature


Vonn Cummings Sumner Horse and Rider, 2023

Vonn Cummings: Second Nature
March 11 – April 8, 2023
Morton Fine Art
52 O St NW #302
Washington, DC 20001

Second Nature is a solo exhibition of new paintings on paper and canvas by artist Vonn Cummings Sumner. First rendering Krazy Kat, George Herriman’s influential comic strip character during the early period of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumner returns to the wandering, curious avatar with Second Nature, escorting the titular figure through newly verdant, water-pooled landscapes, open spaces and art historical-coded landscapes, longing for escape and a reconnection with Nature. Genderless and endlessly depicted, Krazy Kat stands in for “everyman,” but rarely has their roaming path seemed to follow a strange inner voice that might be its own, but also Sumner’s—raising the question “who’s following who?” as both go about a grand tour of references, past and present.

Vonn Cummings: Second Nature
Krazy Storm (after Giorgione), 2023.
Oil on panel, 24 x 18 in. Courtesy of
Morton Fine Art and the artist

Second Nature finds Krazy Kat (and Sumner) on a heavy, if much-needed retreat, anxiety hanging about and lightened by the exhibition’s antithetical moments of enigma, colour and joy. Sumner’s sixth solo exhibition with the gallery, Second Nature, will be on view from March 11 – April 8, 2023 at Morton’s Washington, D.C. space (52 O St NW#302).

Introduced to Krazy Kat by his longtime mentor and friend, the late artist Wayne Thiebaud, Sumner’s character has become a fertile prompt, both for working through existential atmospheres and more painterly notions of colour, composition, control, gesture and mark-making. Where Sumner’s first body of work with Krazy Kat placed the internationalist “everyman” in horizonless, all-white backgrounds ripe with psychological references, and a subsequent 2022 exhibition watched Krazy Kat pass by inflamed trash cans and looming aerial anvils—partly a response to the time’s deep atmosphere of instability and loss—2023’s Second Nature features Krazy Kat back out in the open world, or perhaps removed from it, tramping through vivid, almost day-glo rendered deserts, forests, fields—and much of Western art history.

Returning back to colour in full force, Second Nature revives Sumner’s ongoing balancing act between “cartoon” and “painting.” Colours surge with an agency of their own, sometimes running counter to the narrative elements of the works. The graphic boldness of Night Bathers’ (2023) rectangular blue and green landscape, touched by two black trees and deep orange moon, is contrasted by the painterly chevron brushstrokes depicting waves on Krazy Kat’s bathing pool. Destabilized by colour, the work could reasonably be decoded as a night for day setting, turning the work on its head—or placing it back in a cartoon and cinematic tradition.

Vonn Cummings Sumner - Horse and Rider, 2023. Oil on canvas
Horse and Rider, 2023. Oil on canvas, 48 x 65 in. Courtesy of
Morton Fine Art and the artist

Belonging to a series of “Bather Kat” works ( River Bather, Green Bathers), these works are new explorations of acrylic paint on paper and may be read for a preoccupation with scrubbing oneself clean, particularly in the aftermath of the past few years and in light of Krazy Kat’s previous adventures with Sumner.

Reverie, 2023. Acrylic on paper, 22.5
x 30.25 in, Courtesy of Morton Fine
Art and the artist

But longer engagement with the works draws out Sumner’s expert, playful eye for form, color and history. Capturing the airy, open tactility of the beach—depicting clouds and a sandy bluff in similarly rough, scratchy applications of paint—Beach Stretch (after Cezanne) (2023) is also a sort of pun, alluding to Cezanne’s famed bathing series. Horse and Rider (2023), drawing from Edgar Degas’ series of horse sculptures, is all speed and movement, the surface paint seeming to blur in fast motion. Grass, tree and horse alike are pulled and smoothed out—except for Krazy Kat’s tail, forever jointed in a “z” shape.

Like that zig-zagging tail, Krazy Kat cuts a pensive path, inviting us to join the existential reverie found in these unfolding spaces of rich forms and loaded marks, where Sumner offers his painterly meditations.

Learn more about: Second Nature

©2023 Vonn Cummings, Morton Fine Art

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Available artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER.

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER | Le Monde Diplomatique

4 Apr

Thank you to Le Monde Diplomatique for featuring a potent handful of works by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER accompanying articles in the April 2023 edition. More info can be found by visiting

Contact Morton Fine Art for available work from this series (pre-dating Krazy Kat) or visit