JOHN SUMMERS new work

Mud and stars. Is this figure being imbued with life or wrenched out of it? Is it angel or Golem? Either way it shocks us as its parts – its bits and pieces – come sharply into focus and then blur. We’re dazzled by the glitter,  shocked by the chicken wire. We know, and don’t know, what’s going on. What the hell’s going on. We are reminded that Rodin’s Gates of Hell were inhabited by some exquisite shades and graces, taken from life and turned into myth.

Summers’ sculptures wrestle as the artist himself does with the material and the manifestation of the work. The states of entropy and creation in constant battle. Casts of the artist’s own body, half a head, arms and legs escape their owner, bones break away from their muscle. All hail the new flesh!

Classical allusions are inevitable each with that two-way interpretation – Pygmalion or Prometheus. Is the artist blessed or cursed with power or impotence. What forbidden fruit do these branches carry? In time, in the studio, these works grow or decay, limbs and elements accruing or disintegrating until as they’re presented here the gallery fixes their state – a resting point yet with no certainty of permanence once the show is ended… or the lights are off.

“Antique

Gracieux fils de Pan! Autour de ton front couronné de fleurettes et de baies, tes yeux, des boules précieuses, remuent. Tachées de lies brunes, tes joues se creusent. Tes crocs luisent. Ta poitrine ressemble à une cithare, des tintements circulent dans tes bras blonds. Ton cœur bat dans ce ventre où dort le double sexe. Promène-toi, la nuit en mouvant doucement cette cuisse, cette seconde cuisse et cette jambe de gauche.”

from Les Illuminations, Arthur Rimbaud 1868

(Gracious son of Pan! About your brow a crown of berries and buds; your eyes as precious as jewels begin to stir. Stained with wine your cheeks crack and crease. Your fangs shine. Your chest is like a zither, jangling ringing notes twisting around your blond arms. Your heart beats within the gut that holds a double sex. Walk! Walk at night gently moving that thigh, that second thigh then that left leg.)