Evan Summer has been making prints for over 35 years. He started when he was a chemistry major at the State University of New York College at Cortland. After completing his degree in chemistry, he moved back to his home town of Buffalo, New York, and began art school at the State University at Buffalo. He studied painting, printmaking and drawing, but printmaking quickly became his main interest. It’s combination of drawing and technical challenges ideally suited his abilities.
He had the opportunity to study with two outstanding teachers: Harvey Breverman in printmaking and Seymour Drumlevitch in painting. During this time in Buffalo (1970-73) he worked primarily with the collagraph, which at the time was a relatively new printmaking medium. Collagraph plates are built up like a collage and printed like an etching. Often he liked the plates better than the prints and this later led to interest in collage. After receiving his B. F. A. at Buffalo, he entered the graduate program in printmaking at Yale University. There he worked with Professors Gabor Peterdi and Richard Ziemann, and many talented students.
Summer continued working with the collagraph and began experimenting with stronger, more durable materials to create his printing plates. He also started working seriously with etching.
He graduated with an M. F. A. from Yale in 1975. Subsequently, he held a number of summer and temporary teaching jobs at Creative Arts Workshop in New Haven, the State University of New York at Buffalo, Pratt Graphics Center and Wesleyan University. He moved to Philadelphia in 1978 and worked as an Artist in Residence under Hitoshi Nakazato at the University of Pennsylvania and taught at Tyler School of Art. The residency gave him a chance to develop his imagery and etching style. In 1984 he was hired at Kutztown University, one of the schools in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. He is now a Professor at Kutztown University and lives in Kutztown, Pennsylvania with his wife and two of four children.
The influences for Summer’s work started long before he entered art school. As an only child growing up near Buffalo, he would often go to Niagara Falls with his parents. This view of a magnificent landscape from above, and some forms reminiscent of the hydroelectric plants near Niagara Falls would later become a continuing theme in his work. As a young child he had fears and dreams about being lost in an abandoned building or unfamiliar landscape. This, too, would come to influence his imagery. Time has always been a significant part of his work — there is something of memory and something of the future incorporated together into these images. The combination of these elements creates a dark and powerful vision of an unknown landscape.
He is a specialist in etching, sometimes combining it with engraving and drypoint. He does all preparatory drawings, plate work and printing himself without print shop collaborations. His copper printing plates usually go through 10 to 20 states, and he often works on a single plate for over a year.
His work (including drawings and collages as well as prints) has been exhibited around the worldwith many solo exhibitions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art (1999-2000), the Reading Public Museum (2001 and 2005-06), the Scuola Internazionale di Grafica in Venice (2007) and the Guanlan International Printmaking Workshop in Guanlan, China (2010). Evan Summer has also received many awards including the Tai-he Masterpiece Award in the Beijing International Print Biennial and the Chambliss Award for outstanding research at Kutztown University.
His work is included in many permanent collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, the Brooklyn Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Evan Summer has been working in etching since the early 1970s. He’s completed hundreds of plates, and over 50 of these are landscapes. These landscapes often include architectural or geometric forms incorporated into the landscape. Other subjects include vegetables, geometric forms (pure forms without landscape) and insects.
They are done on copper plates usually with drypoint and engraving in combination with etching. Many of the larger plates are etched 12 to 18 times. Evan does all of the plate work himself without workshop collaboration. With the exception of the four prints done during his residency in Guanlan, China, he also does all printing. The prints done in Guanlan were printed by Liu Hongliang.