David Summers

  • Selected Works

    Super Happy Autumn Still Life with Gazing Ball, 2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

    De Divina Proportione (Matthew’s Polyhedron).  2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

    A Lesser Net of Indra (Cadmium),  2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

    Happy Still Life with Cube of Light and Vivid Memories,  2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

    Happy Still Life with Candle and Vivid Memories,  2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

     Happy Still Life (the Artist is not In),  2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches

    Happy Still Life with Hummingbirds,  2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches
    Newton’s Daffodils, 2017. Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
    Four Onions for C.W., 2017. Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches
    A Green Stallion with Bright Tape, 2017. Oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches 
    Goya’s Onion, 2017. Oil on canvas, 8 x 10 inches
    Still Life between Two Apples, 2017. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches
    Smaller Happy Still Life (Red). 2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches
    Happy Still Life with Five Apples and Five Oranges, 2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches
    Happy Still Life with Gourds and Swans, 2017. Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

  • Previous Exhibitions

    Felt Light
    16 April – 29 May 2016

    Exhibition page >

    SelectionsPam Black, Kris Iden, Peyton Hurt Millikan, Ann Lyne, David Summers, Theo van Groll, Sanjay Vora
    6 February – 8 March 2015

    Exhibition page >

    Picasso, Lydia and Friends (Vol. 3)
    26 August – 25 September 2016

    Exhibition page >

    Picasso, Lydia, and Friends (Vol. 2)
    5 September – 5 October 2014

    Exhibition page >

    David Summers
    5 May – 9 June 2013

    Exhibition page >

    Picasso, Lydia and Friends (Vol. 1)
    31 August – 30 September 2012

    Exhibition page >

    Lydia Gasman & David Summers: Philosophers and Painters                                                                                           22 January – 7 March 2010

    Exhibition page >

    David Summers | Passing Through the Light
    2 April – 7 May 2000

    > Artist

  • Statement

    “Marks and virtual space on a surface are reciprocal, and infinite apparent things may arise from a first mark, just as infinite virtual spaces must arise to accommodate them. If marks are “things” in space, they also show us surfaces of those things, virtual color and light, which again may be articulated in infinite ways.

    Brushstrokes make their own kind of endlessly unique spaces, which, rather than letting run their course, I make describe what I have chosen to paint. For me, painting is trying to make the marks of painting like the things, space and light I see, weaving pictorial space and light into an acknowledgment of whoever or whatever I am facing. Once I have decided what to paint, I try to feel the rightness of every touch of the brush, at the same time that what I see can’t be anything but the endless occasion for invention. A painting is done when a particular subject assumes something like its own presence and distance in the equally particular space of the painting.

    I usually don’t let the painted surface touch the edge, so that the marks will float, not borrow architecture from the edges. The paintings compose themselves from the inside out. While I paint, I feel I am trying my best to draw with light; this is impossible, of course, because paint is paint and because light continually changes. But the simple and impossible disrelation of painting and light to me is itself endlessly fascinating, always promises meaning, and any persuasive analogy I find to the play of light, even how a few shadows lie together, is a gain. Light touches our retinas a first time, leaves our eyes just as suddenly and silently, and in an instant knits up the place we were. In the meantime, it is the great place and time in which we share our lives.

    The paintings are mostly arranged according to the thoughtless habit and permutationality of a life. They are paintings of familiar people and things, things I see out of the corner of my eye, gifts I have been given, things that strike my fancy (as we say), objects no longer meaningful once used. I try to make them as beautiful with light as they are, or were, or seem to try to persist to be. Painting light is a kind of homage to what is and was for me, much as it is and was for you, and it is inescapably both lyric and elegiac.”

  • Biography

    David Summers taught at Bryn Mawr College and the University of Pittsburgh before accepting an appointment to the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Virginia in 1981. In 1984 he was appointed William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Art. He is the author of Michelangelo and the Language of Art (1981), The Judgment of Sense: Renaissance Naturalism and the Rise of Aesthetics (1987); Real Spaces. World Art History and the Rise of Western Modernism (2003); and Vision, Reflection and Imagination in Western Painting(forthcoming). He is also completing a manuscript on the High Renaissance program of the Sistine Chapel, with a manuscript on empathy on a back burner. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996, and paints whenever he can.