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Donald K Sultan


Alias: Donald Keith Sultan

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(b. Asheville, North Carolina, 1951) American painter, sculptor. Donald Sultan received his Bachelors of Fine Arts at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and his Masters from the Art Institute of Chicago. His first solo exhibition was in 1977 and since then, his work has been shown in many collective and personal exhibitions in museums throughout the world, including: The Institute of Contemporary Art in Tokyo; The Museum of Modern Art in New York; The Palacio de Velazquez in Madrid; The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris. Known for his use of uncustomary materials such as dead leaves, melted rubber, tar and oilcloths, he typically builds his images by spreading tar or rubber over the canvas then proceeds to paint, scratch, cut or burn the images into the fabric (he creates actual depth and volume through the cuts he makes in his fabric). There are two different types of paintings Sultan tends to depict. The first is of seemingly simple figures such as lemons, eggs, flowers, and butterflies. These images concentrate on the shift between black and bright colors, almost as if they are negatives of a photograph. Additionally, their simplicity is contrasted with the complexity of the derivation of their form. The second type showcases urban landscapes, scenes of battle and views of factories. These images are more difficult to interpret with their undefined outlines and their variations in shade and light. Sultan is additionally a successful sculptor and printmaker. In another project he drew the illustrations in David Mamet’s book entitled Bar Mitzvah. Donald Sultan is now living and working in New York City.

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