“I wanted to introduce something black into all the lushness, something that could be a hole and a volume at the same time.” – Donald Sultan
Donald Sultan rejects the label “still-life painter,” even though renderings of fruit and flowers have defined his long career that has included painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Impossibly black velvety sections of paint, achieved at times with actual tar, have defined his paintings almost as much as his extreme close-ups and simplifications of everyday genre objects.
In his prints, Sultan recreates the impossible blackness of his paintings by using silkscreen with enamel inks and flocking (the application process of the tar). The fine texture of the flocking adds a tactile quality to the work, while serving to absorb light. Sultan pushes the object to the brink of recognition through the judicious use of cropping, scale, and texture; leaving the viewer to contemplate the curve of a line, the infinite blackness of a void, or the resolute solidity of a shape.