Art: Donald Sultan at the Contemporary Arts Center

Donald Sultan is considered a painter’s painter. Inspired by minimalism but still attracted to the narrative possibilities of figuration, Sultan developed a style that accommodated and carried forward both. He used then-unusual building and industrial ma

Donald Sultan is considered a painter’s painter. That means that while not widely familiar to the general public, other artists and museums respect him for the influential originality of his vision and technique.

The CAC has just organized and opened a modestly sized show, The First Decade, which brings together key paintings of Sultan’s from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s. The exhibit, curated by Raphaela Platow, will be on display through May 17.

Inspired by minimalism but still attracted to the narrative possibilities of figuration, Sultan in that period developed a style that accommodated and carried forward both. He used then-unusual building and industrial materials — Linoleum, Masonite hardboard, tar, Spackle and plaster — instead of depending on oil paint and canvas. He then manipulated the surfaces — like woodcuts — to conjure ghostly images of urban Americana.

Read more about the exhibit, including Rosen's interview with Sultan, here.

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