Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art

Kansas City, MO



Donald Sultan: In the Still-Life Tradition


The exhibition Donald Sultan: In the Still-Life Tradition focuses on the artist's untraditional approach to the traditional theme of still-life painting. Through December .3, 2000, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art will feature 20 of Sultan's massive eight-foot-square paintings of vases, oranges, lemons, buttons, and his latest works of red tomatoes; The Kemper Museum's painting Spike Acanthe, July 5, 1993 also is included.

Donald Sultan's extensive body of work has placed him at the forefront of contemporary art.where he has become best known for his ability to successfully merge and ancient and ongoing artistic tradition, in this case still-life painting, with a modern approach. The monumentality of Sultan's compositions -- huge, often colorful images of fruit, flowers, dominoes, and other everyday objects set against a stark, black background -- demand attention. (left: Nine and Eleven, August 16, 1995, tar, oil and plaster on lineoleum over Masonite, 96 x 96 inches, Private collection, Photo: Zindman/Fremont)

In these ambitious works, Sultan experiments with paint, tar, plaster, and Masonite, achieving unusual effects with the combination. Instead of canvas, Sultan works on Masonite covered with 12-inch vinyl floor tiles. Sultan cuts the shapes he desires into the vinyl, fills in the cutout space with plaster or tar, and then paints over it.

Born in 1951 in Asheville, NC, Sultan received his B.F.A. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL. Sultan, a painter, printmaker, and sculptor, has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. His works are in the collections of many prestigious institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, and the Dallas Museum of Art, TX. (left: Black Egg and Tomatoes, August 4, 1998, tar, oil and plaster on lineoleum over Masonite, 96 x 96 inches, Courtesy of Knoedler & Company, NY, Photo: John Black)

A 72-page catalogue features color plates of the exhibition's 20 paintings and includes essays by author Steven Henry Madoff and playwright, screenwriter, and film director David Mamet.

After closing December 3 at the Kemper Museum, the exhibition will be on view at the Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL (March 31-June 3, 2001) and at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, AZ (June 28-September 9, 2001).

Donald Sultan: In the Still-Life Tradition was organized by the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN, and curated by Dana Holland-Beickert. This exhibition is circulated by Pamela Auchincloss, Arts Management. Funding for the national tour and catalogue is provided by FedEx. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art acknowledges the generous support of Bank of America for the 2000 Artists-in-Residence program. Financial assistance has been provided by the Francis Families Foundation; the Arvin Gottlieb Charitable Foundation, UMB Bank, Trustee; the Hallmark Corporate Foundation; The Kansas City Star; the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation; the David Woods Kemper Memorial Foundation; KXTR-FM; and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Midwest Express Airlines provides travel for research and the Museum's visiting artists. Additional support has been provided by vital corporate, foundation, and individual contributions. (left: Four Buttons, July 29, 1995, tar, oil and plaster on lineoleum over Masonite, 96 x 96 inches, Private collection, Photo: Zindman/Fremont)

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 3/23/11

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