Gay Summer Rick paints iconic urban coastal landscapes, from Los Angeles to New York City, rendered with a keen sense of place and a flair for abstraction. Sparsely populated though replete with objects and evidence of the built environment, her poetic, palimpsestic aesthetic yields scenes that are at once dreamlike and familiar, painterly, evocative, and emotionally resonant. The resplendent calm of her highway and byway sojourns claims influences from Diebenkorn to Rothko and Turner; resulting in expressive, mottled surface qualities that thwart photographic reproduction. Revealing an unexpected beauty in commonplace elements within the urban landscape, her unique style is a melding of impressionism and color-field painting describing the quiet vibration of life where the city meets the sea.
In Gay Summer’s vision, traffic, broad skies, architecture, power lines, and perhaps palm trees are silhouetted or bathed in the luminosity of clear blue white light, or set aflame inside the warmth of a blood orange glow, radiating beyond the confines of the picture plane. Though not overtly realist, Gay Summer’s observations on the dynamic of optical, environmental phenomena animate her scenes with the energy and movement of the observable world. She applies pure pigments using only palette knives, creating images through a series of interacting, melded layers. The paint is treated architectonically; it is engineered, built into layers, carved, scraped, accumulated, and almost sculpted — but never removed, never discarded. In part to avoid material waste and the use of toxic solvents for reasons of environmentalism, Gay Summer finds the almost mnemonic accrual of paint a perfect reflection of her lifetime of experiences in the places she depicts.
Growing up in New York surrounded by artists, Gay Summer Rick began her arts education early in life. She went on to formally study art and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in New York at the School of Art and Design, Alfred University, where she drew, painted and sculpted images on clay forms and vessels. After receiving a Masters degree in Business Administration, she continued her art training in Los Angeles in painting, which became the primary focus of her art practice. A resident of Southern California for over 25 years, the artist maintains her studio in Malibu.
Gay Summer Rick regularly exhibits in California and Hawaii, and has shown in Japan, Europe, and New York. Her paintings have been featured in solo gallery and institutional group exhibitions including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Rental & Sales Gallery; and in international and national group exhibitions. Her work has received numerous awards and honors, and she is a member of Oil Painters of America, California Art Club, Malibu Art Association, Malibu Artists Unite, and is listed by the Malibu Cultural Arts Commission. Her paintings are held in public and private collections around the world.