Though a generation apart, both Alex Katz and Donald Sultan are expert painters, printmakers and sculptors, whose works share a clean, crisp style and sharp focus on subject. Both artists have had a really good year, with the inclusion of their works at Miami Art Week.
At age 90, Alex Katz says this is, “the most productive time in my whole life, right now.” He’s finished painting some enormous, atonal Maine landscapes, a new technique for him, which are on exhibit in London and New York.
Katz’s work is also on exhibit at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The museum is showing a group of rarely seen small paintings, which he uses as preliminary studies for his widely known larger works.
It’s still Katz’s practice to produce small paintings, which have different colors and textures than his large paintings. Seeing the brush strokes and forms on the small paintings gives the viewer a peek into the transformation of Katz’s ideas from preparatory work to finished paintings and prints.
Alex Katz: Small Paintings is currently on exhibit and runs through April 8, 2018.
Donald Sultan’s Disaster Paintings, done between 1984 and 1990, were exhibited at major venues around the country this year. Starting at the Lowe Art Museum in Coral Gables with a stop at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, the paintings depict catastrophic disasters that Sultan gleaned from newspaper photos.
When asked why he stopped painting disasters, Sultan said, in a Forbes interview, “People asked me why I quit and it was because the imagery I was using became pervasive. That’s not why I did them. I did it because that was the way the world was going. Part of the American way of painting was industrial. I never was comfortable with illustration; I was interested in the way paintings were made.”
Sultan went on to explore the use of color, texture and design, using tar on linoleum squares and precise patterns of dots, beginning with dominoes and, eventually, flowers.
The Flowers of Alex Katz and Donald Sultan
Although their techniques and approaches to subject are different, both Alex Katz and Donald Sultan approach the depiction of flowers with great care and precision. Both artists render their works, paintings, prints and sculptures, with apparent simplicity of design and color, although the simplicity is deceptive.
The Works of Alex Katz and Donald Sultan at VFA