John Seed interviews painter Vonn Sumner on the occasion of the exhition Vonn Sumner: Somewhere Else at Merry Karnowsky Gallery, Los Angeles, on view May 18 – June 15, 2013.
Seed writes that Sumner's work "features a suite of paintings that form a kind of personal Commedia dell'Arte, whose main actor has a tragic, muted air. Sumner is wise enough to know how to engage you in his theater and also smart enough to stand back and let you react on your own terms. The paintings are generous, funny and just a bit opaque."
Sumner comments: "For me, the decisions in making a painting are largely intuitive. There is no literal idea or narrative I am trying to execute or illustrate. I can say generally that I work with materials and imagery that feel "right," and that I work toward an image that resonates with me at the time. I'm also interested in breathing new life into old conventions, like portraiture. With 'Reliquary' in particular, it felt both ridiculous/absurd and also somehow melancholic or mournful."