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Jimmy Lee Sudduth
Big City Skyline
about 1988
paint, mud, and sand on plywood
37 x 48 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment



Sudduth's fertile imagination has led him to paint self-portraits, dogs, television personalities, and the architecture and landscape near his home in Fayette, Alabama, as well as views of New York and other cities. In Big City Skyline, rows of people filing across a bridge toward a crowded mass of towering skyscrapers emphasize the anonymity of life in America's large cities. Sudduth's materials—mud mixed with sugar water and color extracted from weeds and vegetables—are no less inventive than his themes. He rarely uses canvases or brushes, preferring to use his fingers to paint with clay, mud, sand, and soot on plywood.