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Altoon Sultan
February 19 - March 26, 2017



Sultan’s precisely rendered small-scale paintings are near-abstractions based on her own photographs of agricultural machinery. She investigates the emotive power of form rather than narrative, and celebrates careful and close observation in her work. Her paintings are never completely non-objective because, for Sultan, “the interaction with the reality of things is so compelling; because my imagination doesn’t come close to the surprising and inventive juxtapositions of color and shape and light that I find ‘out there.’” Inspired by an exhibition of the 15th-century manuscript The Hours of Catherine of Cleves at the Morgan Library, Sultan began to paint on calfskin parchment with egg tempera in 2010. The paintings are remarkable for their strong light and clarity, and are rendered with restraint and delicacy. Despite their intimate scale, the forms in the paintings possess a dramatic and monumental presence.
 
The exhibition also features textile pieces which explore abstract geometric form and line, inspired in part by Tantric drawing. The artist uses a rug-hooking technique with cut strips of wool fabric she has hand-dyed to achieve vibrant and saturated colors. These works have a sense of play and invention, and the artist fully exploits the material to create her often irregular shapes as well as illusions of dimensional volume. Like varying brushstrokes, the wool loops can be hooked in multiple directions and with different colors to create a range of visual textures. Additionally, they can be trimmed to create areas of high and low relief.
 
 Bridging her investigations into painting and textiles is a new body of work: bas-relief sculptures in painted porcelain. The work was begun in 2015 and is exhibited for the first time in this show. They were inspired by Ghiberti’s bronze doors, Persian relief sculpture at the British Museum, and especially, an exhibition of Middle Kingdom Egyptian sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The imagery is similar to that in her paintings, but becomes even more abstracted as the sculptures are painted monochromatically in matte acrylic. While form is paramount in all three bodies of work, the relief sculptures, in their precise and focused rendering, have an enhanced sense of quiet power and reserve.
 
  Altoon Sultan, Angled Bar
Angled Bar, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 7/8 x 6 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Greens
Greens, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 x 10 3/8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Scoop
Scoop, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
9 x 6 3/4 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Angle and Cylinder
Angle and Cylinder, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 x 10 5/8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Center Line
Center Line, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
12 x 9 inches
Altoon Sultan, Adjoining Angles
Adjoining Angles, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
6 3/4 x 9 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Crossed Yellow
Crossed Yellow, 2017
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
7 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, On Point
On Point, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
10 1/8 x 7 inches
Altoon Sultan, Red Vertical
Red Vertical, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Tall Red
Tall Red, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
9 1/4 x 6 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Curve and Grid
Curve and Grid, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Zigzag Blue
Zigzag Blue, 2016
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
10 1/2 x 8 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Intertwined
Intertwined, 2016
Painted porcelain
10 1/2 x 8 3/8 x 9/16 inches
Altoon Sultan, Convergence
Convergence, 2016
Painted porcelain
8 1/8 x 9 x 5/8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Folds and Curve
Folds and Curve, 2016
Painted porcelain
11 1/4 x 8 1/4 x 9/16 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Around Folds
Around Folds, 2016
Painted porcelain
10 1/2 x 8 3/4 x 5/8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Angles, Down and Up
Angles, Down and Up, 2016
Painted porcelain
9 x 11 1/2 x 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Soft Angle
Soft Angle, 2016
Painted porcelain
9 1/8 x 7 1/8 x 5/8 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Two Curves
Two Curves, 2015
Hand-dyed wool on linen
14 x 16 inches
Altoon Sultan, Arcs and Squares
Arcs and Squares, 2015
Hand-dyed wool on linen
23 x 23 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Ocher Folds
Ocher Folds, 2016
Hand-dyed wool on linen
18 x 16 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Within Circles
Within Circles, 2016
Hand-dyed wool on linen
17 1/4 x 16 3/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Red/Brown Ground
Red/Brown Ground, 2016
Hand-dyed wool on linen
11 x 10 inches
  Altoon Sultan, installation 1
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 2
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 3
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, installation 4
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 5
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 6
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, installation 7
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 8
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 9
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, installation 10
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 11
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 12
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, installation 13
Installation view
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