Tag Archives: Vonn Sumner

WAYNE THIEBAUD x VONN SUMNER | Artist to Artist | The Last Interview | Cultbytes

29 Dec

Interviews

Wayne Thiebaud. The Last Interview

Anna Mikaela Ekstrand

December 28, 2021

Vonn Cummings Sumner, Krazy Mirror, 2021. Oil on panel. 10 x 8 inches. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

The passing of celebrated California painter Wayne Thiebaud was confirmed by his gallery Aqcuavella on Sunday. “Even at 101 years old, he still spent most days in the studio, driven by, as he described with his characteristic humility, ‘this almost neurotic fixation of trying to learn to paint’,” the statement said.

Thiebaud’s now legendary practice expanded the Pop Art movement, being particularly known for his unique focus on paintings of everyday subject matter – cakes, pies, gumball machines, and highways – inflected with pastel hues and a sense of Americana. These works were staples at major auction house sales; Four Pinball Machines (1920) sold at Christie’s for a staggering $19,1 million in July 2020 and Sotheby’s holds the record for his cakes when Encased Cakes netted $8,46 million in 2019.

Though highly celebrated for his mastery over the painted medium, this last interview reveals the lesser-known influences of cartooning on both his oeuvre and that of peers such as Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston. Particularly loved by his cohort was Krazy Kat—the mid-20th century icon created by George Herriman—in 1990 Thiebaud collaborated with choreographer Brenda Way on a ballet based on the strip in San Francisco.

Krazy Kat reappeared as the titular character of Thiebaud’s former student Vonn Cummings Sumner’s solo show Krazy Times at Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C. this past November. “I have been so incredibly fortunate to have Wayne as a kind of confidant, a co-conspirator,” says the painter, for whom studio visits with Thiebaud continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. On the occasion of Cummings exhibition, he and Thiebaud conducted an interview. Emphasizing the significance of artistic exchange across time, space, and generations and reflective of their decades-long friendship, this conversation dives deep into the trajectories of both artists’ practices, highlighting Thiebaud’s illustrious career and the influence of his mentorship on Sumner, his former student, and their shared interest in Krazy Kat.

Wayne Thiebaud
Portrait of Wayne Thiebaud in Vonn Cummings Sumner’s studio, featuring Sumner’s Krazy Kat paintings in the background. Image courtesy of Vonn Cummings Sumner.

Wayne Thiebaud: How did we get into this Krazy business in the first place?

Vonn Sumner: Well, you introduced Krazy Kat to me, when I was in your Theory & Criticism class. But, I wondered if you remember where and when you first saw Krazy Kat?

WT: When I was in the Army Air Force doing a little strip of my own, about a nondescript, dogface, Army Corporal, who was getting into all kinds of trouble a fellow by the name of Bob Crosby introduced me to the cartoonist George Herriman, the creator of the Krazy Kat strip. Bob tthought my strip was repetitive, full of cliches, and that I should shape up and become acquainted with Krazy Kat. To me it looked like a bunch of nonsense. I had just been to war and was, I guess, 20, 21 years old it was 1942 or 3.

VS: When I was a child, my introduction to any kind of pictures, really, were through children’s book illustrations and then comic books.

WT: For most American painters, that was their experience. They all talked about it, even, of course, Philip Guston. A lot of the people around the New York group were early cartoonists, and fed on American cartoonists and illustrations.

VS: Do you think it was a particularly American phenomenon to grow up looking at those things?

WT: I’ve heard that Picasso and some of the Surrealists were interested in Krazy Kat, but I have no documents to back this claim. They were certainly following Tin Tin, the Belgian cartoon. Regardless of which character we are talking about, the idea of humanity is central. How we can get them somehow to touch on that aspect? Not so much comic, and pratfalls, and actions, but just the aspect of when they are most human. For instance, I never found Nancy [a comic strip character that the artist Joe Brainard used in his artwork] very humane. But humanity runs all the way through Krazy Kat: his vulnerability and his wiseness in the face of naiveté. Such loving characteristics. So, you’ve done some, I think, quite remarkable paintings bringing him into little vignettes, and, mostly him with—and I haven’t seen all of them—but usually he’s somewhat alone, with some action, or with an elephant, or with something. I think they’re very, very well done, and very humane.

VS: When I showed you those first two little Krazy Kat paintings that I did, you spoke about the idea of “painting for the millions.” You quoted someone saying you shouldn’t pick up a pen to start writing without considering the millions, or the masses – the audience.

WT: I think that was Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the German.

Vonn Cummings Sumner
Vonn Cummings Sumner, The Sky is On Fire, 2021. Oil on panel. 18 x 18 inches. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

VS: Why is does Krazy Kat lend itself to such popularity?

WT: Well, because it’s hard to understand Krazy Kat. What is going on? What is his/her gender? Why is the Southwest such a powerful environment for him? The wide open spaces? The wonderful, unpredictable-ness of the landscape, in terms of particularly American history. So why is that, rather than a more ‘normal’ environment, for Krazy Kat? I think it’s because of the unending possibilities that something like that open space can achieve.

VS: I don’t know if you remember this, Wayne, but you once sent me a postcard, or a little reproduction card from a Morandi show that Paul [Thiebaud] did in San Francisco. You put a Krazy Kat cartoon folded up inside of it and then you made a little note on the envelope, you said: “Krazy Kat and Morandi, an ideal dialectic!” I thought it was exciting as an idea. What if you set up those two as a dialectic, what comes out of that space in between them?

To point it in another direction: I wonder what it is about cartoon characters that allows people to identify with them? In your teaching, you emphasize the role of empathy, in both making paintings and also in looking at them, perceiving them. How do you see the role of empathy relating specifically to Krazy Kat, or why do you think we feel so attached to that little character?

WT: Well at center, it seems to me, is vulnerability. Not ‘sob story’ vulnerability, not too obvious, because he is determined, usually, never to be vulnerable. He resists vulnerability, it seems to me, which is quite a curious characteristic. You hit him on the head with a brick—could not care less! It is as much a ‘love-tap’ as a pain in the head!

VS: Part of what has been the challenge and the goal of doing these Krazy Kat paintings, for me, is to fully leave all of those photographic reference kind of crutches behind, and just work from drawings or memory or invention.

WT: I think that is where the gold lies.

VS: Why? What does memory painting allow for?

WT: It is not fixed. If you think about what you are getting from your memory, and as you begin to use it, all kinds of other things come into it, suddenly; mistakes, aberrations; ‘Gee, I didn’t know that little bump was so effective.’ You start out with one sense, one memory, and it becomes almost a kaleidoscope. There are suddenly all these variants of that one memory. That is the way I think of memory. And, I do not think it depends on just getting something fixed, but almost the opposite. Getting something which allows you to expand, to contract, to change, to color, to enlarge, all of the possibilities of that instance.

VS: So that you can discover something that you did not set out to know, or so that you can surprise yourself?

WT: Exactly. You can know, generally, in advance; but you cannot know, or deal with the surprises, the accidents that inform the work differently than you thought. Some of that can come into Krazy Kat. I do not think he has to be grand and clear. You are doing that, I think, with some effect.

Vonn Cummings Sumner
Vonn Cummings Sumner, Ghosts, 2021. Oil on paper on panel. 12 x 12 inches. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

VS: I am interested in the idea of this singular character or figure that is both something that we know, something that we can agree on while being built into the world that Herriman was creating that is always changing. This process of becoming or unbecoming and unraveling lends itself well to uncertainty and open-endedness.

WT: Yes.

VS: Returning to incorporating humanity in painting. Ironically, it is through painting this strange cat that is not a cat, actually somehow you are trying to get at our own human vulnerability and hopes and dreams and whimsies and daydreams and nostalgia. All of the things that this amazing character can embody, right?

WT: It is not a simple problem; it is fascinating, challenging, and wonderful to see what happens. So, it is a treat to think of just ‘what is this painting going to look like?’ And, I am trying to make it look as interesting as possible. So that form– the formal order– is sustained, celebrated, and used ruthlessly, to make those paintings special, whatever the direction, whatever the intent. That is more likely than anything to get them into the canon, and the celebration.

Wayne Thiebaud
Wayne Thiebaud, Boston Cremes, 1962. Image courtesy of Crocker Art Museum.

VS: I have decided that I like the question that kind of lurks next to the Krazy Kat paintings– can you even paint this? Or is it really ridiculous and not even worthwhile at all!

WT: [Laughter] That is the confrontation. That is exactly the way I felt trying to paint those damn pies. I could not believe anyone would be interested, on the other hand, I was just like, wow this is fun.

ANNA MIKAELA EKSTRAND

Editor-in-Chief and Principal PR/Digital & Curatorial Services, Cultbytes Building on her experience as an art critic and digital strategist, Anna Mikaela founded Cultbytes to promote interdisciplinary and non-hierarchical cultural criticism. By attracting the leading emerging museum professionals, artists, and art-critics to cover topics close to their heart her aim is to inspire cultural consumption in the public. As the Principal of PR/Digital & Curatorial Services, Anna Mikaela leverages her knowledge, network, and team to find new ways to innovate communications and curatorial practices to benefit her clients. She has held curatorial positions at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bard Graduate Center, Solomon R. Guggenheim, and the Museum of Arts and Design. She holds dual MA degrees, in Design History, Material Culture, and Decorative Arts from Bard Graduate Center and in Art History from Stockholm University. She undertook her undergraduate studies at Stockholm University, Paris-Sorbonne IV, and London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

VONN SUMNER | UC Davis | Wayne Thiebaud

25 Oct

UC Davis alum art exhibition on view in D.C.

Krazy Times, a solo exhibition of new paintings and watercolors by artist and UC Davis alum Vonn Cummings Sumner (MFA 2000), is on view at Morton Fine Art in Washington D.C. through Nov. 3. Reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in the career of famed American cartoonist George Herriman, Sumner’s recent works render the eponymous protagonist of Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip in settings and circumstances evocative of contemporary life. It is also available to view online.

Artwork from exhibit, coral above beige figure
Vonn Cummings Sumner, Krazy Dreams, 2021. Oil on panel. 18 x 18 inches.  Robert Wedemeyer. (Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art).

Sumner was first introduced to Krazy Kat by his mentor, painter Wayne Thiebaud, whose love of Krazy Kat was shared by peers such as Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning. Appearing in newsprint from 1913 to 1944, Krazy Kat remains a keystone in the history of American cartooning, owing to its widespread cultural influence. Today, Sumner’s reinvigoration of Krazy Kat highlights its relevance to 21st-century themes — partly created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumner describes Krazy Kat as an “empathetic effigy” for processing a moment of great global change and loss. 

View the Krazy Times exhibition online here.

VONN SUMNER talks music and art in Bomarr Blog

16 Oct

Background Noise, Vol 111: Vonn Sumner

UNCATEGORIZED

BACKGROUND NOISE, VOL 111: VONN SUMNER

MR_ADMIN

Vonn Sumner has had art in his bones for quite some time.

Growing up around art (his father was also an artist), it was no surprise that Vonn would eventually attend art school. It was at this art school, UC Davis, where he discovered artist Wayne Thiebaud was not only still alive, but teaching classes. Unfortunately, it would be another 2 years before Vonn met the criteria for attending one of Wayne’s classes, but that didn’t deter him. Vonn just started showing up. It was through this ambitious approach that he absorbed a lot of Wayne’s teachings. Something that proved invaluable to Vonn’s developing art pursuit.

Vonn’s paintings mix a bit of humor with occasional social commentary. He has a whole series of paintings depicting dumpster fires, which were particularly relevant during the chaotic 2020 we had.

He cites everyone from Guston to Chris Ware to R. Crumb to Buster Keaton as influences, and if you look close enough, you can see all of it in his work.Vonn-Sumner-Neo-Byzantine-UltravioletVonn-Sumner-Dumpster-Fire-lllVonn-Sumner-Bread-and-Circuses-IIVonn-Sumner-1Vonn-Sumner-DGAFVonn-Sumner-ParlanceVonn-Sumner-Watching-a-Dumpster-Fire

First album you bought?
“The Best of Blondie” on cassette tape, I was like 5 years old. I still love Blondie.

Last album you bought?
I just found a vinyl version of the classic underground “Grey Album” by DJ Danger Mouse. It is “unofficial” but still sounds great.

First concert?
My parents took me with them to concerts when I was very little. The earliest one I actually remember was Sha-Na-Na.

Last concert?
The Alabama Shakes

Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
So many, of course… I think I will choose De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising. I was like 13 years old when it came out, and it was unlike anything I had heard before: so creative, so fresh, so funny, so wonderfully weird. I wore that tape out completely. Great cover art too.

Who is your musical hero?
Otis Redding. Talk about an ‘authentic voice’… direct. All heart.

How important is music to your creative process?
Music is extremely important to my creative process. It is almost as necessary as light, sometimes. Music opens me up, gets me out of my head and into my body. It goes directly to our emotional core, which, of course it is endlessly inspiring. I also love music that is able to incorporate multiple moods/styles and music that incorporates humor in various ways.

BONUS: What is your favorite album cover of all time (and why)?
Otis Redding Live in Europe from Stax / Volt in 1967… Because of the combination of that hot pink suit against the black background, plus the font/text.

BONUS #2: Any visual artist(s) you’d like to see answer these questions?
Lynette Yiadom-Boakye
Jason Stopa
Loie Hollowell
Amy Sherald
Eleanor Ray

All Blues – Miles Davis
Japan – Pharaoh Sanders
Action Line – Dorothy Ash-
Govinda Jai Jai – Alice Coltrane
Wede Harer Guzo – Hailu Mergia & Dahlak Band
Tezeta – Mulatu Astatke
It Is What It Is – Blood Orange
I Can’t Stand It – The Velvet Underground
Making Time – The Creation
River Euphrates – Pixies
The Beast and Dragon, Adored – Spoon
House of Cards – Radiohead
Digital – Joy Division
That’s All I Need – Magic Sam
La Venia Bendita – Marco Antonio Solis

www.vonnsumner.com

Check out Vonn’s’s playlist below on Spotify. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes right here.

VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER featured in East City Art

5 Oct

MORTON FINE ART PRESENTS VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER KRAZY TIMES

By Editorial Team on October 4, 2021

Vonn Cummings Sumner, Krazy Times, 2021, 24″x24″, oil paint on panel.
On View: October 9 – November 3

Vonn Cummings Sumner’s contemporary depictions of Krazy Kat’s titular character build upon the comic strip’s longstanding influence on the art world at large.

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

About Krazy Times
Morton Fine Art is pleased to present Krazy Times, a solo exhibition of new paintings and watercolors by artist Vonn Cummings Sumner, on view from October 9–November 3, 2021. Reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in the career of famed American cartoonist George Herriman, Sumner’s recent works render the eponymous protagonist of Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip in settings and circumstances evocative of contemporary life.

Sumner was first introduced to Krazy Kat while under the tutelage of painter Wayne Thiebaud, whose love of Krazy Kat was shared by peers such as Philip Guston and Willem de Kooning. Appearing in newsprint from 1913 to 1944, Krazy Kat remains a keystone in the history of American cartooning, memorialized in part by the works of those it influenced. In the present decade, Krazy Kat has long since ceased publication; yet, the reinvigoration of its visual vocabulary by Sumner highlights its utility as a vehicle for investigating 21st-century themes.

Drawing from the original comic strip’s mediations on humanity—previously executed through tragic humor in a series of panels—Sumner depicts the titular character of Krazy Kat being followed by ghosts, peering at balloons floating just out of reach, and gazing at his reflection in a cerulean blue oasis, among other narratives collapsed into a singular image. Rendered in oil on panel as well as ink, gouache and pencil on paper, Sumner removes Krazy Kat from the landscapes of the comic strip, instead presenting such encounters in fields of seemingly endless white. In this sort of alternative dreamscape devoid of horizons, Sumner enables Krazy Kat to act as a projection of the artist or the viewer, embodying allegorical scenarios akin to lived experiences.

Partly created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumner describes Krazy Kat as an “empathetic effigy” for processing a moment of great global change and loss. Sumner asks, “What do you paint when reality seems to be an absurd satire of itself?” Naturally, the answer is Krazy Kat, upon whom Sumner bestows new life. Bringing forth Krazy Kat’s curiosity and innocence, Sumner intertwines existential feelings with an earnest playfulness, producing accessible avenues into thoughtful contemplation. While the contemporary moment warrants heaviness, Sumner’s Krazy Kat paintings offer welcome reminders of optimism, inspiring joy in the face of Herculean challenges.

About VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER
Vonn Cummings Sumner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended the University of California, Davis, where he studied closely with the celebrated painter and teacher, Wayne Thiebaud, among others. Vonn has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998, and his work has been featured or reviewed in many publications, including: New American Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Cartwheel Art, The Painter’s Table, Boom magazine, and Quick Fiction. Vonn’s work has been the subject of two solo museum shows: The Other Side of Here, at the Riverside Art Museum in 2008, and Stages, in 2011 at the Phillips Museum of Art in Pennsylvania. In 2021, his work was featured in the first museum survey tracing the influence of Wayne Thiebaud on contemporary art at the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis.

Vonn currently lives and works in Santa Ana, CA, and is a Professor of Painting at Fullerton College.

He has been represented by Morton Fine Art since 2010.

About Morton Fine Art
Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC by curator Amy Morton, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that art collecting can be cultivated through an educational stance, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum- quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice. Morton Fine Art specializes in a stellar roster of nationally and internationally renowned artists as well as has an additional focus on artwork of the African Diaspora.

Morton Fine Art founded the trademark *a pop-up project in 2010. *a pop-up project is MFA’s mobile gallery component which hosts temporary curated exhibitions nationally.

Gallery hours:

  • By appointment only.

Mask required.

Morton Fine Art is located at 52 O St. NW #302.

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

WAYNE THIEBAUD | Manetti Shrem Museum | VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER in Hyperallergic

14 Jul

Explore Wayne Thiebaud’s Evolving Influence at the Manetti Shrem Museum

The new exhibition Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation celebrates the UC Davis professor’s legacy at work today.Manetti Shrem Museumby Manetti Shrem Museum

Vonn Cummings Sumner, “Watching a Dumpster Fire” (2020), oil on canvas over panel, 14 3/4 x 16 x 1 inches (image courtesy the artist © Vonn Sumner)

The profound influence of longtime UC Davis art professor Wayne Thiebaud on a new generation of contemporary artists is the focus of a multi-faceted exhibition currently on view at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, at the University of California, Davis.

The professor emeritus, who turned 100 in November 2020, first joined the university’s fledgling art department in 1959. Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation explores how Thiebaud forecast the future of painting through his personal journey to find meaning and reinvention in the medium’s history — and inspired his students to do the same. “He found his voice at a very volatile time in the art world,” said Manetti Shrem Founding Director Rachel Teagle. “Painting as a medium and practice was dead. Wayne championed a new path forward.” 

Think of this group exhibition as Thiebaud’s classroom operating across time and place, where works of art reverberate with the flow of shared ideas. 19 exhibiting artists reflect the breadth of Thiebaud’s influence and honor his dedication to practicing the fundamentals; his penchant to paint the people, places, and objects of daily life; and his passion for looking to the history of art as a source of inspiration. 

Andrea Bowers, Robert Colescott, Alex Israel, Jason Stopa, Jonas Wood, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye are featured alongside 13 mid- and late-career artists who studied with Thiebaud in the classroom and independently: Julie Bozzi, Christopher Brown, Gene Cooper, Richard Crozier, April Glory Funcke, Fredric Hope, Grace Munakata, Bruce Nauman, Vonn Cummings Sumner, Ann Harrold Taylor, Michael Tompkins, Clay Vorhes, and Patricia Wall.

Together these artists chart an alternate course of how painting makes meaning in the 21st century. 

On view through November 12, 2021. Book a timed ticket to visit or experience the exhibition through its digital companion website at manettishrem.org.

Available Artwork by VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

VONN SUMNER in “Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation” on view January – June 2021 at Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art

26 Oct

Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation

The profound influence of Wayne Thiebaud on a new generation of artists is front and center in this celebration of the longtime UC Davis art professor’s centennial. Pairings explore how Thiebaud forecast the future of painting through his personal journey to find meaning and reinvention in the medium’s history in ways that are both current and timeless. Works by contemporary artists who have been inspired by Thiebaud as a fellow painter as well as those of former students reveal unexpected connections and sources of inspiration.

Curators: Rachel Teagle and Susie Kantor

An exhibition featuring
Andrea Bowers, Julie Bozzi (’74, MFA ’76), Christopher Brown (MFA ’76), Robert Colescott, Gene Cooper, Richard Crozier (MFA ’74), Fredric Hope, Alex Israel, Grace Munakata (’80, MFA ’85), Bruce Nauman (MA, ’66), Jason Stopa, Vonn Cummings Sumner (’98, MFA ’00), Ann Harrold Taylor (MFA ’85), Michael Tompkins (’81, MFA ’83), Clay Vorhes, Patricia Wall (’72), Jonas Wood and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

On view January 31–June 13, 2021

Available Artwork by VONN SUMNER

Morton Fine Art, 52 O St NW #302, Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787 (text or call)

info@mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart.com

VONN SUMNER’s “Only Painted Fire” exhibition at Morton Fine Art

9 Nov

On view:

Morton Fine Art

52 O St #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

 

Neo-Byzantine (Red Hot), 2019, 24″x20″, oil on panel

 

 

Betrayal Wall,  2019, 24″x24″, oil on panel

 

El Ingres-Frida (Appropriation of Culture), 2019, 24″x24″, oil on canvas

 

Balloon Dumpster (The Party’s Over), 2019, 16″x20″, oil on panel

About Only Painted Fire
In the summer of 2018, I travelled to Italy to see many of my favorite paintings in person for the first time: the early Renaissance frescoes of Giotto, Masaccio, and Piero della

Francesca. Though I was very familiar with the work through reproduction, seeing it with my own eyes was a transformative experience. When I returned home to California, I began a nearly life-size copy of one of my favorite panels of the Giotto frescoes at the Scrovegni chapel in Padua (alternately referred to as The Betrayal of Christ or Judas’ Kiss). I wanted to inhabit the painting, rather than just look at it; I wanted to feel what it was like to make those paintings.

 

During the process of copying this painting, I became intrigued with Giotto’s stylized depiction of fire, which blazed at the end of several torches along the top of the painting. I realized I had never really painted fire, and for some reason this became an

irresistible challenge. At the same time, I was following the news and trying

to make sense of the polarized and turbulent political climate of our time.

Perhaps due to my newfound fascination with painting fire, certain phrases that

commentators and pundits would use grabbed my attention: “dumpster-fire” and

“trash-fire” especially, used as hyperbolic expressions of frustration and

outrage. 

 

I began to think more deeply about the uses and depictions of fire, symbolically and literally, and the ways in which humans have used fire in rituals. Fire is dangerous and out of control, which also makes it beautiful and sexy and alive. Fire is violent and

destructive, which leads to change, regeneration and rebirth. We speak of

‘trial by fire’ and ‘lost torches’; passionate people can be ‘on fire’’ and

have ‘fire in their belly.’ In California we have “Fire Season” and “high fire

danger” alerts. There are “fire eaters” to entertain us, and parties that “burn

down the house” and light “the roof on fire,” etc… All of these phrases and

notions have been on my mind this past year as I have painted fire and searched

for personal and artistic renewal.

 

The resulting paintings are not meant as a definitive or conclusive statement, rather as evidence of one painter engaging with the world, following a gut instinct, and doing “research paintings” in order to see what happens. The work can be seen symbolically or

literally, or both; and I invite the viewer to bring their own interpretations

and resonances to the occasion. No matter how we look at our current cultural

moment, regardless of ideology or affiliation, it seems we are living through a

time of great change. These paintings are in some way a response to that

condition.

 

– VONN SUMNER, 2019

 

 

Dumpster Fire III,  2019, 16″x16″, oil on panel

 

Dumpster Fire IV, 2019, 18″x18″, oil on panel

 

Dumpster Fire II, 2019, 18″x14″, oil on canvas

 

KOR, 2019, 16″x12″, oil on canvas

 

About VONN CUMMINGS SUMNER

 

Vonn Cummings Sumner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the son of a picture framer and a school teacher. Seeing the art that his father was framing, as well as travel in Europe, Central America and India shaped Sumner’s visual aesthetic during his formative years.

 

He attended the University of California, at Davis, where he earned both a Bachelor’s degree and an M.F.A. in painting, with highest honors. While at Davis he worked closely with Wayne Thiebaud both as a student and as a teaching assistant. Sumner also took summer classes at the San Francisco Art Institute, and is influenced by the Bay Area Figurative movement that centered around that school in the postwar period.

 

Sumner has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1998. He has been featured or reviewed in many publications including New American Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Cartwheel Art, The Painter’s Table, Boom magazine, and Quick Fiction. Sumner has shown regularly throughout the Los Angeles area since 2003, including in a solo museum show- Vonn Sumner: The Other Side of Here- at the Riverside Art Museum in the fall of 2008. A second solo museum exhibition, Vonn Sumner: Stages, followed in 2011 at the Phillips Museum of Art on the campus of Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania. Sumner’s paintings have been shown internationally in Venice, Italy; Manchester, England, and Switzerland. He is represented by Morton Fine Art in Washigton, DC.

 

Only Painted Fire marks his forth solo exhibition at Morton Fine Art.

 

 

Standing Man (on fire), 2019, 16″x12″, oil on canvas

 

Trashfire IV, 2019, 18″x14″, oil on canvas

 

Trashfire III, 2019, 18″x14″, oil on canvas

 

Neo-Byzantine (Japonaiserie), 2019, 24″x20″,  oil on paper mounted on panel

 

A Fire Without a Trashcan, 2019, 16″x12″, oil on canvas

 

Trashfire II, 2019, 14″x12″, oil on canvas

 

Trashfire I, 2019, 12″x9.5″, oil on canvas

 

Link to available artwork by VONN SUMNER

VONN SUMNER paints from life “Trash Fire III”

5 Aug

VONN SUMNER creates a remarkable painting titled “Trash Fire III”, 2019, 18″x14″, oil on linen from life. Check out this incredible video of SUMNER oil painting while viewing a burning trash can outside his studio window!

 

 

 

 

 

VONN SUMNER’s finished painting, “Trash Fire III”, 2019, 18″x14″, oil on linen.

 

Available artwork by VONN SUMNER.

 

Contact the gallery for more information:

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

(202) 628-2787

http://www.mortonfineart.com

mortonfineart@gmail.com

Giotto’s “The Kiss of Judas” inspires six new paintings by VONN SUMNER

14 Mar

Morton Fine Art invites you to join us for an unveiling of new and major artworks at Gallery B in Bethesda this March

9 Mar

Artwork by: OSI AUDU, JULIA MAE BANCROFT, ROSEMARY FEIT COVEY, NATALIE CHEUNG, NATHANIEL DONNETT, VICTOR EKPUK, KATHERINE HATTAM, NATE LEWIS, ANDREI PETROV, MARIO ANDRES ROBINSON, and VONN SUMNER

 

 

Spring 2019 Survey of Select Morton Fine Art Artists

March 6 – March 30th, 2019

Opening Reception

Friday, March 8th from 6-8pm

 

EXHIBITION LOCATION

Gallery B

7700 Wisconsin Ave, Ste E

Bethesda, MD 20814

 

HOURS

Wednesday – Saturday 12pm – 6pm

 

Want to view artwork in DC? Come by our permanent gallery space:

 

Morton Fine Art

52 O St NW #302

Washington, DC 20001

Hours: Wed – Sat 12pm-5pm and Sun-Tues by appointment

 

Please also view our exhibition “Starshine and Clay” featuring the artwork of KESHA BRUCE, MAYA FREELON and AMBER ROBLES-GORDON at Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, VA through March 31st, 2019.

 

Workhouse Arts Center

2nd Floor – McGuireWoods Gallery

9518 Workhouse Road

Lorton, VA 22079

Hours: Wed – Sat 11am-6pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm

 

About Morton Fine Art  

Founded in 2010 in Washington, DC, Morton Fine Art (MFA) is a fine art gallery and curatorial group that collaborates with art collectors and visual artists to inspire fresh ways of acquiring contemporary art. Firmly committed to the belief that anyone can become an art collector or enthusiast, MFA’s mission is to provide accessibility to museum-quality contemporary art through a combination of substantive exhibitions and a welcoming platform for dialogue and exchange of original voice.

Redefining the traditional gallery model, Morton Fine Art (MFA) replaces a single gallery space with two locations: MFA’s permanent fine art gallery space and *a pop-up project, a temporary mobile art galleryof curated group shows.  Morton Fine Art established it’s trademark, *a pop-up project, in 2010.