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Black and Whites Jan 20 2015, 2015, enamel, tar and Spackle on tile over Masonite, 96 x 96 inches/243.8 x 243.8 cm

Painter, printmaker and sculptor Donald Sultan takes as his subject fruit and flowers, which have been depicted by artists across cultures throughout history. Yet Sultan says his work, often categorized as still-life painting, is first and foremost abstract. Challenging conventions of materiality and technique, he transforms Western traditions of painting into a truly contemporary venture using materials gathered from everyday life.


Sultan juxtaposes classical approaches to painting with industrial materials including plaster, tar, Spackle and enamel. Creating layers on Masonite instead of canvas, he cuts and strips away sections, outlining and embossing his chosen shapes and forms before painting over them. He places equal emphasis on positive and negative space, enabling an element of ampleness to translate to viewers.  Sultan describes his work as “heavy structure, holding fragile meaning” and it hovers between industry and nature.


Donald Sultan received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Master of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 2002 he was a visiting artist-in-residence at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute. His work is included in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. A monograph of Sultan’s thirty-year career Donald Sultan: Theater of the Object (The Vendome Press) was published by in 2008. In 2010 Sultan was honored with the North Carolina Award, the highest honor the state can bestow upon a citizen.


Born in Asheville, North Carolina, 1951 | Lives and works in New York

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