For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the ArtistLlew Summers (1947-2019) is one of Christchurch’s best known artists, particularly for his monumental sculptures in bronze, concrete and stone which have been highly visible in many South Island centres over several decades. These figures have a remarkable sense of lightness, movement and harmony, despite their size and even when created on a large scale – his major works are often over two metres high. His nude figures, dancing, flying, embracing, have become his signature, celebrating the human form and the beauty of the human body and spirit. After a trip to Italy in 1999, he also embarked on a series of iconic sculptures sometimes reminiscent of shrines, exploring spirituality and religion, and stages of the cross. An intuitive sculptor, he explored many demanding media – sculpting in bronze, wood, marble, concrete, glass and ceramic. ‘What’s important to me is to get a balance between the physical and the spiritual in life. We’re given a soul and we’re given a body. Sculpture provides a nice balance because works can be made which are deep and meaningful, but they require your physical body to produce them. Rather than just being clever or smart the work must have soul.’ Often they capture the complex relationship and endless dance between men and women. Some recent sculptures focus thematically on angels, an extension of his sculptures exploring spirituality.
More About the Artist
Llewellyn Summers was born in Christchurch in 1947. Self-taught, he began exhibiting in 1971, and has had over 50 solo exhibitions throughout New Zealand, as well as participating in numerous group shows. His work is held in corporate and public collections throughout the country, as well as by private collectors in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, USA, the UK, Switzerland, Greece, Malawi, Sweden and Finland.
He won several awards including the BNZ Art Award and the BP Art Award in the 1980s, and the Arts Excellence Award (Community Trust, Christchurch) in 1997. He had a keen interest in literature and collaborated with poet Bernadette Hall on The Stations of the Cross for the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Christchurch.
That work caused controversy, with his sculptures in several cities throughout New Zealand having provoked outcry and letters to newspapers. However, he was never one to retreat from a challenge or compromise his integrity.
Llew Summers contributed beyond his art in many ways – such as offering residencies for emerging artists at his studio; donating works for special causes; and loaning his personal collection of artworks (by other leading and emerging artists) for exhibition.
Summers’ sculptures in bronze are very limited edition, usually seven of small works, and three of large bronzes. Images of other works are available on request, please enquire.
Sadly Llew Summers passed away in August 2019, but the legacy of his works and mentoring of others, endures.