Opening Reception: Saturday, May 18 from 8 to 11pm (RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org) Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 6pm
Merry Karnowsky Gallery, 170 S. La Brea Avenue (in the ART 170 Building) Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 933-4408
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is pleased to present Somewhere Else, the newest solo exhibition by artist Vonn Sumner. Sumner’s works are uniquely peculiar: his subjects are arrayed in ludicrous costumes and freeze-framed in farcical actions, and yet exude a mystical level of straight-faced conviction. At first glance his paintings could be the work of an anthropologist, documenting the ceremonial garb of some lost tribe. Instead of feathers, fangs and bone, their costumes are assembled from the detritus of modernity, from trash can lids to throw away kitsch. The nature of the rituals depicted may be lost to the average observer, but their appeal is not. In Sumner’s own words, “The figures’ gestures and situations alternate between the heroic and the ridiculous, suggesting commentary on human folly and the mystery of existence.” Beneath the veneer of absurdist humor lies an almost infinite possibility for deeper engagement.
Clearly, a sense of humor does not negate serious technical consideration. Sumner’s aesthetic is carefully constructed and fine-tuned to highlight the emotional and psychological implications. Every detail is vital and cumulative to the final effect of his paintings. Sumner explains: “The limited palette, often nearly monochromatic, takes the paintings another step removed from ‘realism’ and gives them a sense of fiction, fable or fairy tale…at the same time the limited palette emphasizes the formalism of the paintings and places them in a pictorial territory somewhere between painting and drawing.”
To Sumner, Somewhere Else represents the fulfilment of a “personal vision that combines figuration and abstraction, performance and minimalism, art-historical reference and contemporary pathos.” His style is easily recognizable and resonant, reminiscent of the portraits of René Magritte and of the aesthetic of Fritz Lang’s iconic silent film, Metropolis. Like stills from that 1927 silent film, each of Sumner’s paintings are visually powerful enough to conjure up a world in which what we are seeing just might make sense. - - - Vonn Sumner obtained his Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Davis and was mentored by renowned artist Wayne Thiebaud. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, as well as, in London and Italy, and has been published in Art Ltd., LA Weekly, NY Arts Magazine, and New American Paintings among many others.
Jeff Koegel - Slow Chemical Orchestra
In the essay 'Orchestral Maneuvers in the Shade' written for Jeff Koegel's current exhibition catalogue, art critic Shana Nys Dambrot writes: “Contemporary history is told like a huge concert where they present all of Beethoven’s 138 opuses one after the other, but actually play just the first eight bars of each.” That’s from Milan Kundera’s 1995 novella Slowness -- a strange, slim, prescient volume having to do with the relatively frenetic pace of modern life and what that both does to, and says, about the condition of our perceptions. The concept of “slowness” comes up in speaking with Jeff Koegel about his painting practice, because the remarkably measured pace at which he proceeds is germane to both the experience and meaning of his work. At least as fundamental as color theory, pattern, and texture, slowing down and inhabiting nuance also applies to the work’s effect on the viewer’s eyes, mind, and bodily motion. These complex, intriguing, generous and elusive paintings exist in the fullness of time and in conscious objection to the relentlessness of our world."
For More Information, please contact Merry Karnowsky at email@example.com // 323 933 4408 Press Contact: Jessica O’Dowd firstname.lastname@example.org