Jason Sumray What’s In A Jug? at Highgate Gallery

Details of Spoons

Details of Spoons - Credit: Archant

The north London artist paints still lifes of ordinary objects in their own table-top drama, creating theatre from the suggested human presence of an abandoned dinner table

Invented still lifes of ordinary objects, which are lent new meanings, feature in Jason Sumray’s latest exhibition What’s In A Jug?

In his oil paintings and etchings on show at Highgate Gallery, he groups and juxtaposes objects as if they are protagonists in a table-top drama - stools are empty, drawers half open, and cutlery left on the dinner table.

The series began with an interest in images where a human presence was strongly suggested yet absent.

Instead of the objects seeming to exist outside of human involvement - as in traditional still lifes - Sumray wanted to explore their relationship to each other and the empty space.

Over time, a narrative played out in his imaginary theatre of objects.

Paintings such as ‘Spilt Strawberries and Cream’ are a response to Chardin’s quietly evocative ‘Basket with Wild Strawberries’ (1761) and a desire to upset the French artist’s finely balanced construction.

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Sumray’s interest in the language of light and dark is extended into his etchings - made from his paintings - which use solely black ink and play with the way that forms emerge or disappear into the darkness.

The north London artist won the Discerning Drawing Bursary in 2011 and was joint winner of the Marshwood Arts Award in 2017. His series based on Samuel Beckett’s ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ was exhibited as part of the International Beckett Festival, in Northern Ireland in 2012, and in 2016 his Fisherman paintings were shown in the Fishing Museum in Cromer.

Jason Sumray What’s In A Jug? Runs at Highgate Gallery at 11, South Grove, Highgate from 11-24 September.