For many years Roland Summer has been investigating and refining a
surface treatment known as Terra Sigillata and then firing his pieces
using a raku technique that he calls ‘Lost Glaze'.
Terra Sigillata, as the name suggests, was developed by the Greeks and used to decorate their famous red and black Attic wares.
In simple terms it is a thin slip made up of very fine flat clay particles, painstakingly collected over several weeks from a watery suspension of clay. The heavier elements settle out, leaving only the finest, flattest particles floating in the water. Once collected and made into a milky slip this Terra Sigillata can be applied to the leather- hard or dry pieces by spraying, dipping or brushing. The resultant coating is then gently polished with sheepskin, polythene or similar to create the most magical and sensuous satin-gloss surface. The pieces are then bisque-fired to await the ‘Lost Glaze' raku.
Roland Summer's technique is both complex and risky, leading to many failures, which he acknowledges as being part of the journey.
In essence the process involves coating the bisque-fired pot with raw slip, which is then in turn coated with a thin layer of glaze. The piece is then fired again in a raku kiln to a point where the glaze has melted enough to form a brittle skin. It is then removed from the kiln and placed in a post-firing reduction chamber along with combustibles like sawdust to create dense carbon smoke. Finally the brittle skin is peeled away to reveal beautifully delicate markings and smoky blushes. He has many ways to encourage the ingress of carbon and it is the subtlety of the markings that gives his work its distinctive magic.
All forms are coil built and he usually has several under construction at the same time. This gives him the opportunity to consider and develop the form as it grows.
Summer often works with a series of similar forms, which are then exhibited as a group. It is at this stage that the pieces display such a remarkable presence. The pieces, although vessel based, combine classical elements of proportion and architectural refinement of form with the slight and deliberate irregularities created by the coiling process, this creates a tension that implies an inner pressure. The carbon markings seem to float within the depths of the polished translucent surface creating more tension between architectural coolness and the inherent warmth of the Raku process. They have a monumental quality, which gives them the power to dominate a space, but they also exude a subtle sensuality, their beautifully curved, mottled and spotted surfaces exerting a primitive power that invites touch.
Why are we fascinated and attracted by such surfaces? It is very much like walking across a beach full of sea-worn stones; only a handful will cause us to pick them up. How does an artist like Roland Summer distil this special quality and incorporate it in his work? The process must involve complete understanding of the finished form and surface, so that he can create a piece with the knowledge of how it will look, at the same time guiding and manipulating those elements of chance so that the finished piece is a powerful combination of idea and discovery.
- RICHARD GODFREY
My pieces which are handbuilt, burnished, slipped with natural or
coloured terra sigillatas and then raku-fired with a crackling-away
glaze show a synthesis of ceramic technics and formal languages of
different ancient cultures.
Handbuilding technics which are typical for African or Pre-Columbian cultures and the burnishing of surfaces in Africa and America come together with the Mediterranian terra sigillatas and the firing of Raku in ancient Japan and its modification in the last century in the States and Europe.
See catalogue: Roland's major new solo show at Internationales Keramikmuseum Weiden
All actual pieces are coilbuilt in different technics from grogged
German stoneware clay. They are burnished when leatherhard and covered
with thin layers of terra sigillata.
After a first biscuit firing again layers of terra sigillata are brushed on the piece followed by a second firing.Then the pots are covered with a slip and glazed. They are fired in a gas kiln with following reduction in sawdust.
With influence of water the glaze crackles away like an egg-shell, the burnished surface reappears.
1955 born in Feldkirch / Vorarlberg
1974-1980 Study of Architecture at Technical University Graz
1998-2000 Exhibition project with Meissen Manufacturer.
2007 Member of the IAC International Academy of Ceramics...
Auf Den Punkt Gebracht. Porcelains For Meissen By Jürgen Schaerer, Book
And Catalogue For The Exhibition In Leipzig, Grassimuseum SPM Meissen
2000, P.198/199 (In German)
Raku - Investigations Into Fire By David Jones, Ramsbury 2000 (Crowood Press), P. 50, P. 105/106
Abenteuer Erde Und Feuer By Gustav Weiss, Bern 2000 (Verlag Paul Haupt), P. 140, (In German)
Neue Keramik (Germany) 3/02 May 2002 Die Wirkung Des Unsichtbaren By Petra Lutnyk)
Ceramica (Spain) No. 83, Madrid 2002, P. 75-77, El Esmalte Perdido (Spanish)
Kunsthandwerk & Design No. 6 /06 Frechen 2006, "Zeit Nehmen - Roland Summer und seine Keramiken" by Charlotte Blauensteiner (German)
Ceramics Art & Perception No. 69 Sidney 2007. "The Enduring Rewards of Proceeding Slowly" by Josef Strasser (English)
2008 Bavarian State Award
2005 - Second Prize Premio de Ceramica Aragon, Zaragoza, Spain.
2004 - First Prize "Ceramic Pairs" Ceramic Prize Diessen / Germany
2003 - Honorable Mention Ceramic Prize Diessen Germany
2002 - Purchase Award Orton Cone Box Show Kansas U.S.A.
2001 - Honorable Mention Bienniale Icheon Korea
2000 - Alcatalen Prize Concurso L'alcora Spain
1998 - Purchase Award Orton Cone Box Show Kansas U.S.A.
1997 - Likum Prize Trienniale For Small Ceramics Zagreb Croatia
1995 - Theodor Koerner Prize (Austria)
1995 - Prix De La Ville De Carouge (First Prize) Carouge Switzerland.
2008 TAIPEI / Taiwan Yingge Ceramics Museum International Biennial
2008 SHANGHAI / China Shanghai Arts & Crafts Museum Contemporary teapot Art Biennial
2008 XI'AN / China Qujiang Exhibition Center IAC Members Exhibition
2008 FUPING / China IAC Museum Hall IAC Members Exhibition
2008 HOEHR-GRENZHAUSEN / Germany Kasino Gallery
2008 LEIPZIG / Germany Grassi Museum Gefaess / Skulptur
2007 - Judenburg, Austria - Galerie G
2007 - Todi, Italy - Ab Ovo Gallery
2007 - Zurich, Switzerland - Galerie Meystre
2007 - Munich, Germany IHM Special Show 'Modern Masters'
2006 - Pilsach, Germany - Galerie Kurzendoerfer
2006 - Klagenfurt, Austria - Galerie EigenArt
2006 - Wuerzberg, Germany - Werkkunstgalerie (opens 1 July 2006)
2006 - Bath, England - Atticus Arts (March 2006)
2006 - Delhi, India - India habitat Centre, Visual Arts Gallery
2005 - Moenchengladbach, Germany - Galerie Barthels
2005 - Hemiksem, Belgium - Chawan Expo (Touring Exhibition)
2005 - Faenza, Italy - Museo de Ceramiche Biennal
2005 - Nijmegen, The netherlands - The Yard gallery
2005 - Beckum, Germany - Forum Keramik
2004 - Margraten, NL - Galerie Groot Welsden
2004 - Amaroussion, Greece - New Town Hall - First European Ceramics Competition
2004 - Hoehr, Grenzhausen, Germany - Ceramics Museum Westerwald - Westerwald Prize
2003 - Pilsach, Germany - Schloss Pilsach Galerie Kurzendoerfer
2003 - Krems, Austria - Weinstadtmuseum 'Alles Keramik'
2003 - Gossau, Switzerland - Ceramics Gallery.
2002 - Deventer, Netherlands - Galerie Loes & Reinier
2002 - Par, UK, - Mid-Cornwall Galleries, European Ceramics
2002 - Margraten, Netherlands - Galerie Groot Welsden.
2001 - Linz, Austria - Galerie Zauner
2001 - Pilsach, Germany - Schloss Pilsach Galerie Kurzendoerfer
2001 - Venray, Netherlands - Galerie Rooyart
2001 - Icheon, Korea - Bienniale World Ceramic Center
2001 - Edinburgh, UK - Scottish Gallery, Investigations Into Fire.
2000 - Rufford, UK - Rufford Gallery, Investigations Into Fire
2000 - Taipei, Taiwan - Yingge Museum, Golden Ceramics Award
2000 - Villach, Austria - Galerie Freihausgasse
2000 - Leipzig, Germany - Grassi Museum, Porcelain For Meissen
2000 - L'alcora, Spain - Concorso Museo De Ceramica.
1999 - Hoehr-Grenzhausen, Germany - Westerwald Prize
1999 - Rufford, UK - Rufford Gallery, European Ceramics.
1998 - Shepparton, Australia - Award Shepparton Art Gallery
1998 - Graz, Austria - Gallery Fromme Contempora
1998 - Lindern, Germany - Lindern Gallery
1998 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - Galerie Babel, Global Ceramics.
1997 - Plymouth, UK - Arts Centre, European Ceramics
1997 - Aalen, Germany - Kunstverein Feuer-Werk
1997 - Manises, Spain - Museo De Ceramica, Bienniale
1997 - Kollmitzberg, Austria - Kunststation
1997 - Stockholm, Sweden - Kaolin Gallery.
1996 - Linz, Austria - Galerie Zauner
1996 - Hamburg, Germany - Galerie L
1996 - Cairo, Egypt - Bienniale, Akhnaton Gallery
1995 - Bremen, Germany - Galerie Holstein
1995 - Carouge, Switzerland - Bienniale Carouge Museum.
1994 - Gemona, Italy - Palazzo Elti.
1993 - Wien, Austria - Galerie Tiller.
1992 - Schweinfurt, Germany - Galerie Im Gewoelbe.
1991 - Vienna, Austria - Museum For Applied Arts.
1989 - Graz, Austria - Ecksaal Joanneum.
Zaragoza, Spain - Coleccion CAI de Arte Contemporaneo
Diessen, Germany - Town Collection
Graz, Austria - Museum Of Styria Province
Carouge, Switzerland - Carouge Museum
Dresden, Germany - Museum For Arts And Crafts Schloss Pillnitz
Deidesheim, Germany - Lotte Reimers Foundation
Leipzig, Germany - Grassi Museum
Hoehr - Grenzhausen, Germany - Ceramics Museum Westerwald
Muenchen, Germany - Die Neue Sammlung Pinakothek
L'alcora, Spain - Ceramics Museum
Taipei, Taiwan - Yingge Museum
Icheon, Korea - World Ceramic Center
SHANGHAI / China Shanghai Arts & Crafts Museum
FUPING / China IAC Museum Hall
Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth House, England