"I have been using flower imagery for 40 years, only because in the 1970s, I started to see the urban environment as a source for new growth. At the time, no one in my generation was painting flowers; now, of course, everyone is."
The idea that Donald Sultan pioneered the trend of using flowers as a motif will not come as a shock to anyone familiar with his work. Sultan is most well-known for his large scale still life paintings, and was also among the first artists to trade out traditional paints and brushes for industrial tools and materials.
Since his rise to prominence in the late 1970s as part of the “New Image” movement, Sultan has gone on to receive numerous accolades including honorary doctorate degrees from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. and the New York Academy of Art, and a lifetime achievement award from the Houston Fine Art Fair. Sultan has also had solo exhibitions in museums and galleries across the United States and in over 15 countries.
Sultan spent 18 months creating Wallflowers, an ambitious portfolio that used over 150 colors in the screenprinting process. This labor of love solidifies the importance of flowers to Sultan, who described the portfolio as “a systematic exploration of the profound complexity of invention,” and flowers themselves as a “sign of happiness or hopefulness.”
In the descriptive text published with Wallflowers, Sultan stated that flowers are “symbolic, mystical, decorative, threatening, loving, commemorative, funereal, matrimonial, architectural, metaphoric, cartoon-like, deadly, medicinal, dietetic, hallucinogenic, fashionable, unfashionable, artificial, indicative” and that to him, “art is a human made flower existing as a creative gift to the artist and the viewer. The art is basically a way of feeling one’s way in the world.”
Wallflowers (2008) is a portfolio of 35 screenprints in an edition of 190. Each Wallflower has a sheet size of 24 ¼” x 21 ½” and was hand signed and numbered in pencil by Donald Sultan. For more information about Donald Sultan or Wallflowers, please contact the gallery.