5.6 – 29.6 2019
Donald Sultan:Dark Objects
05.06 – 29.06.2019
Huxley-Parlour Gallery are delighted to present a retrospective exhibition of works by acclaimed American painter Donald Sultan. Spread over two floors of the London gallery, the exhibition includes 17 works produced from 1977 through to 2019. It is the first exhibition of the artist’s work in London in 10 years and provides an opportunity to re-evaluate these important and influential paintings at a prescient time.
Sultan is known for his large-scale paintings produced using a range of industrial and non-art materials, including tar, latex and rubber, and for his graphic and restrained investigations of form. The exhibition looks to reassert Sultan’s status as a vital figure in the reinvention of painting that occurred in New York in the 1980s, and also in the reestablishment of figuration in contemporary painting.
The exhibition includes early, smaller-scale experiments in tar, tile and Masonite from the 1970s, three monumental works from Sultan’s celebrated series Disaster Paintings as well as works in charcoal from his series Black Lemons.
Sultan worked on his series of Disaster Paintings for almost a decade in the 1980s. Each work of which was inspired by disastrous industrial or urban events, such as warehouse fires or freight train derailments, with the imagery based on photographs he found in daily newspapers. His series Black Lemons was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1988, and preceded an in-depth investigation into the reduction of form. New works presented in the downstairs gallery are taken from subsequent series that reinvent the genre of still life, deconstructing fruits and flowers into their basic forms.
Video: Donald Sultan Introduces ‘Dark Objects’
B. United States 1951
Known for his experimental use of materials, Donald Sultan’s painterly practice presents an interest in surface and materiality, derelict areas of infrastructure, and graphic forms. Interested and influenced by art history and the work of his contemporaries, Sultan cites Josef Beuys and Alberto Burri, as well as Arte Povera’s use of everyday materials and the industrial Minimalist grids found in the work of Carl Andre as influential to his work. Inspired by disastrous industrial or urban events, Sultan’s series Disaster Paintings (1983), manages to be a specific rendering of individual trauma as well as a generalised representation of disquiet and dread.
Sultan’s use of unconventional materials includes coins, bottle tops, linoleum floor tiles, tar, oil, latex, and spackle (a compound used to fill cracks in plaster). Each of his series, with its disparate imagery and subject matter, can be distinguished by two defining characteristics – the stark reduction of form and the liberal and free use of the colour black.
Sultan was born in 1951 in Asheville, North Carolina. He studied in the Fine Arts department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, furthering his education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The 1980s and 1990s saw him exhibiting internationally and his works touring the US in multi-venue exhibitions. Sultan’s works are now held in the permanent collections of over 50 major international museums including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, and Tate Modern, London. He lives and works in New York City.
He lives and works in New York City.