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Indepth Arts News:

"Donald Sultan: A Survey of Work"
2005-06-12 until 2005-12-15
Cliff Lede Vineyards
Yountville, CA, USA United States of America

Winery owner Cliff Lede of Cliff Lede Vineyards is pleased to bring his love of contemporary art to wine country. In tune with the winery’s “poetry of life” philosophy, The Gallery at Cliff Lede Vineyards (which is scheduled to open to the public June 12, 2005) will feature twice yearly six-month long shows of notable contemporary artists. The first exhibition will be a survey of the works of Donald Sultan, who recently showed his work at the Guggenheim in New York. Future exhibitions at The Gallery at Cliff Lede Vineyards include the works of Robert Indiana, Jim Dine, Keith Haring and Sophie Ryder. All shows will be curated by Scott White Contemporary Art, a highly regarded modern art gallery located in San Diego.

“Cliff Lede Vineyards and the Napa Valley offer the perfect setting to showcase the contemporary art that I love,” says Cliff. “I became interested in art in my 20’s and slowly began collecting art. It’s a tremendous pleasure to be able to take my passion for art and our relationship with Scott White Contemporary Art and bring world-class art to Napa—and make it available to the public.”

The Gallery at Cliff Lede Vineyards is proud to present its inaugural exhibition featuring works by Donald Sultan. The exhibition will be a survey of the artist’s work from 1995-2005 and will consist of approximately 10-12 pieces.

The Gallery will reside in the original winery building, as a new Howard Backen-designed winery will be completed in time for harvest 2005. Permanent art at Cliff Lede Vineyards includes Keith Haring’s untitled sculpture of three dancing figures, Jim Dine’s “Twin 6’ Hearts” and “Asaf & Yo’ah” by Boaz Vaadia. Lynn Chadwick’s bronze sculpture “High Wind IV” sets the stage for the contemporary gallery’s U-shaped space. With concrete floors, crisp walls, and clean lines, the space emulates the contemporary spaces of the galleries of Chelsea in New York. The room has an abundance of natural light, an oversized door of glass, steel and wood, bringing a modern feel to the rural calm that the Cliff Lede experience offers.

Donald Sultan arrived in New York in 1975, where he launched his career in painting, printing, and sculpting. Born in 1951 in Asheville, North Carolina, Sultan received his Bachelor’s in Fine Art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and his Masters in Fine Art from the Art Institute of Chicago. Upon his arrival to New York, he worked part-time in construction, renovating lofts and apartments to support his craft. Since procuring his first one-man show in 1977, Sultan has earned prominence as one of the leading painters of contemporary art. His extensive body of work has been exhibited in some of the most prestigious galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Modern Museum of Art in New York, The Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Knoedler & Company Gallery in New York, Scott White Contemporary! Art in San Diego, and the Akira Ikeda Gallery in Tokyo, among others.

The 10 to 12 works in this exhibition are from 1995 to 2005, and range in size and subject. This exhibition will survey the vast diversity of Sultan’s work, which can be largely described as still-life, but in a fresh and modern context. Still-life has a long standing tradition in the history of art, originating in ancient rituals of hospitality. Traditionally, one’s prosperity and generosity was often signified by their ability to offer flowers or fruit to guests. This tradition of arranging flowers or fruit eventually became a popular subject for artists to render. Sultan takes this tradition of still life to breathe in an invigorating and fresh approach. Often described as studies in contrast, Sultan’s paintings depict his objects in bold, bright colors, juxtaposed against a dark background. The effect of this visual language, combined with the materials he uses for his paintings is a robust, fleshy, and elegantly complex su! rface quality. The paintings display a sculptural effect, jetting off the wall with a massive and powerful presence.

Sultan’s choice in materials is another fresh and unique dimension of his work. Unlikely materials such as tar, vinyl, spackle, flocking are applied on square tiles, that are mounted to a masonite panel. Like many modernists, Sultan uses grid patterns to establish the space within his canvases. Within the geometry of the grid, his boldly colored subjects float, not grounded to any established picture plane. The effect is a straightforward image, where space is flattened and color and geometry become the dominant subjects.

Donald Sultan
Red Poppies December 17, 2004
Enamel, flock, tar and spackle on tile over masonite,
48 x 48 inches

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