Jason Sumray’s recent oil paintings and etchings are invented Still Lifes. He takes ordinary objects and gives them new meanings; grouping and juxtaposing them as if they are protagonists in table- top dramas.
The series began with an interest in images where the human presence was still strongly felt but figures were absent. Drawers are half open, stools and chairs empty, plates, cutlery, jugs and serviettes left on the dinner table. His purpose was not to create a direct or distinguishable narrative, but rather to offer triggers that evoke potential meaning. In time, he has become more concerned with a different kind of ‘narrative’ played out in his imaginary theatre world of objects; where, in the tradition of Still Life, the things seem to exist autonomously regardless of human involvement, and what is important is their relationship to one another and to the empty space.
Several recent paintings deal with a preoccupation with the theme of ‘Spilt Strawberries and Cream’; images that were begun as a response to Chardin’s quietly evocative ‘Basket of Wild Strawberries’1761. Jason Sumray felt he wanted to upset Chardin’s delicate and finely balanced conical construction.
His interest in the language of light and dark has been extended into the discipline of etching using solely black ink. He loves the blackness of the medium and how it’s possible to play with way the forms that emerge or disappear into the darkness, where edges are lost and then re-emerge. He etches from his paintings. They inform each other.