Award show: Future Primitive
14 September – 14 October 2007Gallery talk: 14 October 2007
On first looking at John Summers' sculptures you might be bewildered, amused or even repelled by their hectic surface noise - the glitter, the detritus, the seemingly randomly assembled found objects. But looking deeper you see there is an order and control as sophisticated as any traditional sculptor. The seriousness of these playful works is in their precarious harmonies. Summers excels in the metamorphosis of his materials - retaining the sense of flow and becoming in the works while holding them at a point of minute perfection.
The immediacy of his work is arrived at by continuous adjustment, as though a surgeon were working in emergency/primitive conditions, improvising with materials and instruments from a previous age. This forensic skill relates to the work made for his MA show at the Royal College, which often resembled lumps of prosthetic flesh. This almost Dr Frankenstein impulse has since shifted from animating the merely human to the creation of forms suggesting the birth of something quite unearthly.
In certain recent works diamond and pearlised carapaces crack open, about to spawn a second Liberace, or some other star from the Las Vegas pantheon. There is a constant fluctuation between the idea of undirected forces in the heavens and the deliberate manufacture of glamour in Hollywood‘s own stellar system - created both explosively and consciously.
Since graduating from the Slade in 1999, and the Royal College of Art in 2002, John Summers has exhibited widely in group shows both nationally and internationally, (including Studio 1.1, London 2006, 2007; Hollow, London 2005; NY Armoury Fair 2004; Bloodshot and Brighteyed, Berlin 2004, New Contemporaries 2002, 2003). His work has generated high praise and interest, and has won him several prestigious art awards, including the Deutsche Bank Pyramid Award. The exhibition funded by Mark Tanner Sculpture Award, which Summers won in July 2006, will be his first solo show, and represents an important step in his development as one of the brightest new talents in British sculpture.