Learn About These Exhibits by Alumni and Faculty Throughout the Country

Some Viewable Virtually

Installation of the Krazy Times exhibition at Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Jarrett Hendrix

‘Krazy Times’ in D.C.: Vonn Cummings

“Krazy Times,” a solo exhibition of new paintings and watercolors by artist and UC Davis alum Vonn Cummings Sumner (MFA 2000), is on view at Morton Fine Art in Washington D.C., from Oct. 9 through Nov. 3. You can see Krazy Kat art on the UC Davis campus, too, as the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art has seven Krazy Kat-themed works (plus some sketches) in “Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation” viewable through Nov. 12.

Reflecting the artist’s longstanding interest in the career of famed American cartoonist George Herriman, Sumner’s recent works render the eponymous protagonist of Herriman’s Krazy Kat comic strip in settings and circumstances evocative of contemporary life.

Appearing in newsprint from 1913 to 1944, Krazy Kat remains a keystone in the history of American cartooning, owing to its widespread cultural influence. Today, Sumner's reinvigoration of Krazy Kat highlights its relevance to 21st-century themes — partly created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sumner describes Krazy Kat as an “empathetic effigy” for processing a moment of great global change and loss. 

“I was introduced to Krazy by my teacher and mentor Wayne Thiebaud, while studying at UC Davis, and fell instantly and deeply in love with the character and the strip” said Sumner. “Wayne explained that many painter friends of his also loved Krazy Kat: Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, and Elmer Bischoff. I tried to put Krazy Kat in paintings and drawings as an undergrad, but was never satisfied with the results.”

“In 2019, while working on a series of paintings depicting trash cans and dumpsters on fire, I began using a conventional ‘alley cat’ as a kind of figure” to build a bridge between the painting and the viewer. After that series ran its course, and at the nudging of one of my artist friends, I painted some of those alley paintings with Krazyasthe alley cat.  I felt a spark that was new and irresistible, but I had no idea where to go with it… then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, in March of 2020, and it felt immediately, intuitively right: a ‘crazy cat’ for crazy times.”

View the Krazy Times Exhibition virtually here.

Vonn Cummings Sumner, Love Kat, 2021. Oil on panel. 8 x 8 inches. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.
Vonn Cummings Sumner, Love Kat, 2021. Oil on panel. 8 x 8 inches. Photo credit: Robert Wedemeyer. Courtesy the artist and Morton Fine Art.

In the Studio with Maryann Steinert Foley

Tucked into the end of a quiet street in Sonoma, enfolded by a mini forest of trees and shrubs, lies a house filled with dozens of jaw-dropping sculptures ranging from small to life-size.

The expansive garden property contains the overflow of works in process, some too large to work on in the studio, as well as finished pieces strategically tucked into the shrubbery, anchoring mini retreats of peace and serenity.

Maryann Foley’s (BA 2011) sculptures are readily identifiable by the brave splashes of multiple colors applied in the glazing process. Her pieces are tactile, grainy, and bold, with textured chunks overlapping each other. Horses are a favorite subject. She paints on canvas as well, but says her heart is really in sculpture. 

Maryann completed a BA in Art Studio, with honors, at the University of California, Davis and received the prestigious Departmental Citation for Outstanding Performance from the Art Department Faculty.

While at UC Davis, she worked in the renowned TB-9 ceramics teaching facility, a World War II era building intended to be temporary, but which is still there. It is famous in creative circles as the place where the much-lauded father of ceramics, Robert Arneson, spearheaded the elevation of ceramics from craft to fine art. It was the atmosphere that inspired Maryann to embrace clay as her preferred medium. The expressive and prominent marks in her sculptures result from TB-9’s mantra that work “ought to show evidence of the artist’s hand.”

Maryann continued her professional development with sculptor Cristina Cordova from 2016 to 2020, now interrupted by the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic. She currently shows at Jen Tough Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, b.sakata garo in Sacramento, and the Pence Gallery in Davis. . Numerous private and public collections across the country include her sculptures. For more information, visit: https://www.maryann-sf.com

Read the full article in the Sonoma Valley Sun by Jackie Lee here.

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