Vonn Cummings Sumner grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, the son of a picture framer in an artistic family. Frequent trips to museums and travel in Europe, Central America and India shaped Sumner’s visual aesthetic during his formative years. He attended the University of California at Davis, where he earned both a Bachelor’s degree and an M.F.A. in painting. While at UC Davis he worked closely with Wayne Thiebaud both as a student and as a teaching assistant. He also took summer classes at the San Francisco Art Institute and is influenced by the Bay Area Figurative movement that centered around that school in the postwar period.
Upon graduating in 2000, Sumner moved to New York City, where he painted and worked in museums, including the Guggenheim. In the summer of 2002 Sumner moved to the Los Angeles area, where he had a studio in Long Beach. While in Southern California, Sumner co-founded the Los Angeles-based group of artists called Pharmaka who, from 2004 to 2009, operated a non-profit exhibition space devoted to contemporary painting in downtown L.A.
Sumner has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1997. He has been featured or reviewed in many publications including New American Paintings, Elle Décor, The Washington Post, L.A. Weekly, Art Ltd., Riviera magazine, Hi Fructose, Juxtapoz, Cartwheel, and featured on the cover of Boom magazine and Quick Fiction. Sumner exhibited regularly throughout the Los Angeles area, culminating in a solo show at the Riverside Art Museum in the fall of 2008. Sumner shows with the Paul Thiebaud Gallery in San Francisco, Morton Fine Art in Washington, D.C., and the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles. His next solo exhibition, Vonn Sumner: Somewhere Else, will be at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery in Los Angeles from May 18- June 15, 2013.