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Photo credit: wrobertangel, 2007, Downtown Los Angeles
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 MFA 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.
Upon graduating in 2000, Sumner moved to New York City, where he painted and worked in museums, including the Guggenheim Museum. In the Fall of 2002 Sumner relocateded to the Los Angeles area, with studios in Long Beach and Signal Hill. In 2003, Sumner co-founded the LA-based group of artists called Pharmaka who, from 2004 to 2010, operated a non-profit exhibition space in the Historic Bank District of Downtown LA. They initiated the first Downtown Art Walk and played a role in making Downtown the Arts District it is today.
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, LA Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Cartwheel Art, The Painter's Table, Boom magazine, and Quick Fiction. Sumner has shown regularly throughout the LA 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...