Jerald Melberg Gallery of Charlotte, N.C., will present its inaugural solo show for Donald Sultan on April 22. The artist, who is a painter, sculptor, and printmaker, will attend the opening that evening. His work is notable for its use of repeating patterns pulled from nature and applied to large-scale compositions that are both realistic and abstract. Sultan, a native of Asheville, N.C., who studied fine arts at UNC Chapel Hill and has a master's in fine arts from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, was inspired by found objects to produce his first paintings; sincethen, he has had over 50 solo exhibitionsof his work in venues ranging from the Tate Modern in London to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. He is also the recipient of an NEA Visual Arts Fellowship.
Though Sultan has worked in other styles, his work in this show, including conté crayon drawings, paintings, and screen prints, is mainly still lifes that feature bright patterns from the natural world. For example, his monochromatic Eight Blue Poppies Jan 25 2020 (2020) features rings of blue surrounded by a white background. The outer edges of the poppiesare blurry, while the white spaces within each flower are well delineated, creating a contrasting sense of grace and starkness. His Red Poppies March 1 2020 (2020) is also a geometric floral still life, both delicate and bold. Seen from afar, his works such as Mimosas with Blueberries Sep 23 2021 (2021) have a regularity to them, but up close they are an intricate depiction of leaves and blue and white balls against a blue sky. The effect is at once complicated and simple, energizing and calming. Mimosa April 12 2019 (2019) features a lighter palette with red and yellow streaks against a background of blue, dotted with white globes, capturing the effect of bright bulbs hanging against an azure sky. Maroon Lantern Flowers Aug 9 2020 (2020) veers more into abstraction, with swirling purple flowers against white connected by delicate tendrils.