Donald Sultan (American, born 1951)
Born in 1951 in Asheville, North Carolina, Donald Sultan received his BFA from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. He moved to New York in 1975. His work is voluminous and varied and has placed him at the forefront of contemporary art. Although his paintings fit into the criteria of a still life, Sultan describes these works as first and foremost abstract. The largeness of Sultan’s compositions follow the formula of a huge pieces of fruit, flowers, dominoes, and other objects, set against a stark, single-colored, square background. He is best known for his lemons and fruit, and states that his subjects develop from previous work. The oval of his lemons has led to a series of oval-blossomed tulips. Dots from dice have become oranges. What does not change with Sultan’s work is the powerful statement his forms make. Sultan’s work incorporates basic geometric and organic forms with a formal purity that is both subtle and monumental. His images are weighty, with equal emphasis on both negative and positive areas. His powerfully sensual, fleshy object representations are rendered through a labor-intensive and unique method.