Opening: NICOLA VERLATO ‘ZERO GRAVITY’ & VONN SUMNER ‘THIS MAKES SENSE’ @ Merry Karnowsky Gallery Los Angeles August 11th
Nicola Verlato, Car Crash
Vonn Sumner, Sleepwalker
From the press releases:
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present This Makes Sense, a solo exhibition by Vonn Sumner. Subtle in color but bold in content, Sumner’s characters are isolated, absurd, engaging, and somehow quietly common-place. More adventurous than
his predecessors, Vonn Sumner has no fear of placing characters out of context as their masked facades suggest deeper meaning.
Mentored by renowned artist Wayne Thiebaud, one can see the tradition of subtle form and beauty accentuated by the simplicity of execution.
Extremely recognizable in his style of painting, Vonn Sumner creates puzzling, ambiguous, and theatrical scenes contained within singular gestures.
“My paintings are an attempt to bring together seemingly contradictory elements: the observable outer world and the subjective inner world; the formal possibilities of non-objective painting and the psychological possibilities of representational painting; seriousness and humor; artifice and authenticity; revealing and concealing.
The figures in my work are often costumed, mostly on their heads, and all of the props are real objects made by the artist for the sake of the paintings. I am drawn to the shapes these things create, as well as the symbolic potential they carry. I do not set out to illustrate some pre-determined verbal idea, nor do I intend any one specific literal or didactic message. Instead, I trust and follow my instincts and compulsions to work with particular poses, shapes, and relationships and to explore the emotional and psychological territory that unfolds. Through this process of drawing and painting I develop a personal vocabulary that attempts to reconcile the exterior objective world with my subjective experience of it. I am interested in the potential of art to create one’s own mythologies.
The colors and tone of the paintings are drawn from the specific qualities of Southern California: the stark light, the faded concrete freeways and buildings, the intense beauty of the coastline.”
– Vonn Sumner
Vonn Sumner obtained his Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Davis. 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.
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by Nicola Verlato entitled Zero Gravity. Painting with the hyper-realistic style he has become known for, Verlato executes with a virtuostic hand and classical eye to produce masterworks of choreographed chaos.
In Verlato’s newest series of paintings, the human form reacts, pushes back, contorts and defies impact, or rather, gravity itself. Resisting confinement, the work reveals complex non-linear narratives to convey beauty and order in a world turning upside down.
Nicola Verlato was born in the countryside of Verona, Italy, in what he describes as ‘near isolation”. Surrounded by art books, classical music, and the animals on his parents’ farm. He began painting at age 7 and was selling work by age 9. At 10 years of age, he began to study drawing and painting under Fra Terenzio, a monk painter at the Friars of Lonigo monastery. Verlato considers this period the most important in his art education. Trained extensively in Classical music, he also studied lute and composition at the conservatories of Verona and Padua.
Of painting and music, Verlato has said “I’m not sure if the avant-garde was incarnating the progressive spirit of the twentieth century. Instead, I think about it as a cultural and social resistance of an old aristocratic order that needed, and still needs, the language of art in order to create social differences through the use of complex linguistic codes of difficult, and sometimes cryptic, interpretation. This situation reminds me of what happened in the music field. In the last forty years we have faced the complete failure of avant-garde music in shaping our cultural landscape. For the old high musical forms, the only way to survive has been by reconsidering what was thrown away by the avant-garde: tonality, rhythm and harmony. Young composers today, especially in America, are trying to combine the language of pop music in the complex structures of high music. This is what I’m trying to do in my paintings, as well as what other painters are doing in this country.” – Nicola Verlato, Art Impulse Magazine
Of Zero Gravity, the artist says “we can enjoy for a potential endless suspended moment the illusion of liberation from the most constrictive of all the physical laws, gravity.” – Nicola Verlato
Verlato’s work has shown internationally in venues such as the Venice Biennale, Prague Biennale, Sandretto re Rebaudengo foundation in Turin, MART in Rovereto, Victoria Memorial Hall Calcutta, and in numerous spaces in Italy, Germany, Norway, Holland, and the United States. His work has been featured in publications including Flash Art, Juxtapoz, Hi Fructose, & Lodown. His first monograph will be published by Ginko in 2012.