Donald Sultan American, b. 1951

Works
Overview

Donald Sultan is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. His gargantuan semi-abstract paintings of fruit and flowers are credited with merging process art with the still life tradition of Western painting. While his subject matter is bucolic, his materials—linoleum, Masonite, spackle, and plaster—are the stuff of any handyman's tool shed. 

Sultan developed his techniques in the early 1980s, inspired by his work in theatrical set design and on construction sites. He often cuts his images out of linoleum tile, filling the incisions with tar or plaster to create his decorative, monochromatic silhouettes of ordinary objects like buttons, dominoes, and lemons. Sultan's industrial materials achieve painterly effects, transforming still lives into vast, overwhelming color fields. Sultan describes his work as "heavy structure, holding fragile meaning" with the ability to "turn you off and turn you on at the same time." 

Sultan has had solo shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Jewish Museum (with playwright David Mamet) in New York.

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Biography

Donald Sultan is a painter, printmaker, and sculptor. His gargantuan semi-abstract paintings of fruit and flowers are credited with merging process art with the still life tradition of Western painting. While his subject matter is bucolic, his materials—linoleum, Masonite, spackle, and plaster—are the stuff of any handyman's tool shed. 

Sultan developed his techniques in the early 1980s, inspired by his work in theatrical set design and on construction sites. He often cuts his images out of linoleum tile, filling the incisions with tar or plaster to create his decorative, monochromatic silhouettes of ordinary objects like buttons, dominoes, and lemons. Sultan's industrial materials achieve painterly effects, transforming still lives into vast, overwhelming color fields. Sultan describes his work as "heavy structure, holding fragile meaning" with the ability to "turn you off and turn you on at the same time." 

Sultan has had solo shows at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Jewish Museum (with playwright David Mamet) in New York.

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