With another show about to open, don’t miss the closing of KP Projects dynamic duo of Todd Carpenter and Vonn Sumner.
Each artist’s solo show was exceptional – unique, compelling, and yes, dazzling.
Carpenter primarily works in the palette used in this show: black and white. Like the film noir his LA images invoke, there is depth, mystery, and passion in his portrayal. His “Sky Without Angels or Stars” is a magical, rich depiction of our city, or a dreamscape of it.
“Initially I did black and white photography that captured the emotional aspect of the light. I looked at objects in the world of black and white and how they carried the idea about depth. Where the sun is, there’s a part of the brain that deals with that, and part that deals with color and detail of objects.”
Carpenter’s background in neuro science interested him in the scientific basis of what goes into realism in art.
“The three dimensional effect of black and white painting comes from shading and shadow. I just wrote a paper on it,” he relates.
“You could do a painting – you could do two circles and a triangle – and you could look at it and think it’s a face, based on the geometry. On the other hand, you could look at a painting with shadows and see it as a photograph. They aren’t very realistic photographically, but I look at lighting and shadow in my work. It’s the light I focus on that creates the realistic view.”
Working in oils on both board and canvas, Carpenter uses photos as a reference but creates “loose interpretations not literal ones” with his paintings. “What I look at is the sky, the light, the dark, and I use those values.”
Vonn Sumner’s work in “To Be Seen,” makes an interesting contrast to Carpenters’. In full color, his thematic concealed-faces create a fascinating series., full of mystery and wonder.
“This body of work is basically the culmination of something I’ve been doing for ten years, a certain set of figures, characters with heads covered,” the artist relates.
“I was working with covering people’s heads and costuming, and I saw this little cotton head covering, designed for workers who are spraying a ceiling, something like that. I bought a bunch, and I knew immediately and intuitively I would work with them.”
Working in oils on large scale works, Sumner says he couldn’t put the thematic idea away for a long time.
“I like to work large. It was really fun but it becomes a challenge for storing or shipping,” he laughs. “It’s so fun to go big.”
Asked what the stocking cap covered characters mean to him, Sumner leaves it open. “I have to be careful, it’s important to me that the viewer gets to decide for themselves what it represents. For me it evolved over time, they eventually came to represent a kind of parallel world, or sometimes I think of them as an acting troop, a nomadic traveling vaudevillian comedia del arts association,” he explains.
Sumner says his costuming of his characters makes them “both more and less specific figures. Bring to them your own perspective.”
Both of these highly original, uniquely metaphorical artists, and KP Projects itself, are well worth seeking out – note that KP Projects will be hosting a new opening Saturday, September 10th.
KP Projects is located at 170 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles