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Between and Mortarboard


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Smoke Rings June 14, 2001

Accession Number
2006/1.159A-D

Title
Smoke Rings June 14, 2001

Artist(s)
Donald Sultan

Object Creation Date
2001

Medium & Support
spackle and tar on tile over masonite

Dimensions
96 in. x 96 in. ( 243.8 cm x 243.8 cm )

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the W. Hawkins Ferry Fund and the Friends of the Museum of Art

Label copy
March 28 2009
Donald Sultan’s Smoke Rings seem to float in defiance of the heavy materials with which they are produced: black tar and spackle, the substance used for patching holes in plaster and drywall. Sultan, who began using these kinds of materials when he was a construction worker, paints in the tradition of still life, but rather than reproducing what the eye sees, he draws attention to what it often misses, revealing the abstract visual qualities of commonplace things. His use of unorthodox media and manipulation of scale provokes a sense of strangeness that slows recognition of his subjects, allowing for minute examination of their aesthetic qualities. In Smoke Rings Sultan arrests and monumentalizes a transitory phenomenon: languid, spiraling curls of smoke. At once abstract and hyperreaslistic, the paintings are as much about the graphic gesture of white on black as they are about the beauty to be found in the ordinary world that surround us.
These meditative paintings were originally created specifically for UMMA.

Subject matter
The tradition of still life painting applied to the ephemeral phenomenon of smoke rings. Emphasizes the beauty of the everyday and of transient things.

Physical Description
Against a black background three smoke rings hang, connected by wafts of smoke. Two of the rings are in the viewer's lower left. One is in the viewer's upper right.

Primary Object Classification
Painting

Primary Object Type
still life

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
realism (artistic form of expression)
smoke (material)
still lifes

1 Related Resource

Smoke Rings
(Part of: Screen Arts and Cultures, Fall 2009 Project)

& Author Notes

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