Friday, June 12, 2015

For The Pleasure It Affords

“The forces of nature are constantly at work for us.”
Frederick Sommer

Arguably best known for his photography the Italian born artist Fredrick Sommer, who grew up in Brazil and made his home in Arizona from his mid 20’s, was drawn to a wide range of artistic pursuits. Over the course of his life, Sommer produced significant if somewhat limited bodies of paintings, drawings, collages, musical scores, poetry and theoretical texts along with his photography.

As he told Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel in a Visions and Images interview “I go from one thing to another as it interests me.”

And Sommer’s interest was driven by a search for the new and the unexpected. As he has said “The unexpected is everywhere around us, only the thing is, we tend to look in the terms of how we have done it yesterday, because maybe we did something that worked a little bit better yesterday and we happen to remember the order of such procedures.” 

But repetition was an anathema for Sommer, as he explained “Any time you take to repeat is time taken from something else… Once [you] realize you have learned to walk some sort of path between all the chances you are taking and not taking a rationale [develops] to work with what happens and to accept a much wider range than we are accustomed to see in the world around us.”

From his desert photographs about which he has said "Climatic conditions in the West give things time to decay and come apart slowly. They beautifully exchange characteristics from one to another."

To his abstractions that brought together drawing and photography and his visually conceived musical scores inspired by his examination of famous musical scores about which he said “The best musicians have the best looking scores.”

Sommer explored the aesthetic boundaries of the subjects that caught his eye. As he is reported to have said   “Learning reorients life and activity. I improved over the years by not doing the same thing every day. If I saw something interesting, I would study it; I like the help of many things.”

Then there is his glue color drawings and his photographic recordings of his paper cutouts which like all his creations were made for the pleasure afforded from their creation. As he has said “I’m actually a very lazy person, I don’t intend to be an efficient person because efficiency is the undoing of all possible pleasure.”

An exhibition of Sommer’s glue color drawings is currently on show at New York’s Bruce Silverstein Gallery until the 31st of July.

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