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Altoon Sultan
January 6 - February 14, 2021



Altoon Sultan has been painting exclusively with egg tempera for nearly twenty years and was inspired to create small-scale works on parchment after viewing an exhibition of illuminated manuscripts at the Morgan Library in 2010.  Her near-abstractions of agricultural machinery are up-close, intimate views which possess an uncanny intensity and a monumental presence, despite their small scale. This is the result of the focused clarity of her compositions, combined with the use of bright, intense color and precise, smoothly rendered paint surfaces.  Sultan’s imagery is based on multiple edits of her photographs of agricultural machinery, taken each spring and summer across rural Vermont. The imagery is also used in Sultan’s tonal drawings, created by more reductive means: white gouache for the light zones and black ink for the darks, all on hand-toned paper of a single color.  The resulting works have a dramatic intensity, as the imagery becomes increasingly abstract.  Although Sultan had used this technique in earlier work, she was inspired to revisit it after seeing a drapery study on gray paper by Albrecht Dürer.
 
The exhibition also features two types of fiber-based works: hooked wool textiles and hooked wool drawings. Their imagery is fully abstract, inspired in part by the simple geometries of Tantric drawings. Imagery is developed through numerous abstract pencil sketches the artist maintains for each body of work. Sultan’s textiles are created with a rug-hooking technique employing strips of wool, hand-dyed in vibrant and saturated colors.  These works have a range of textural surfaces created by directionality in the looped strips, and by areas trimmed in high or low relief. Color is carefully gradated to create the illusion of movement and dimensional volume. The hooked wool drawings were inspired by friends who wanted to see the textile pieces at an early stage, when they were simply outlines in wool.  These evolved into textile drawings on linen, combining lines and zones of raised, hooked wool, contrasted with areas of flatly painted egg tempera.  The hooked drawings have a playful immediacy and a more graphic quality than the hooked textiles. 
 
Uniting all of Sultan’s work is the primacy of color.  As she notes, “Color carries tremendous emotional weight, can affect the meaning of a work, and can elicit a visceral response.”  Additionally, Sultan states that it is “my desire that an image, whether representation or non-objective, immediately announces a strong clear presence, a presence that pops off the wall, demands attention, is not at all shy.”
 
Altoon Sultan has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1971.  Her work is found in numerous museum collections across the United States, as well as the UK and Australia.
 
 
  Altoon Sultan, Blue Planes
Blue Planes, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
11 x 8 3/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Peak
Peak, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
9 3/4 x 13 inches
Altoon Sultan, Rising Green
Rising Green, 2019
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
10 x 7 1/2 inches
  Altoon Sultan, A Round
A Round, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 7/8 x 7 1/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Curves and Shadows
Curves and Shadows, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
9 x 12 inches
Altoon Sultan, Red Bars
Red Bars, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
13 x 9 3/4 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Blue Lines
Blue Lines, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
7 1/3 x 13 inches
Right Angle, Blue Lines
Right Angle, 2020
Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched
over wood panel
8 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Converging Curves
Converging Curves, 2020
Gouache and ink on hand-toned paper
13 7/8 x 13 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Big Curve
Big Curve, 2020
Gouache and ink on hand-toned paper
11 3/4 x 14 inches
Altoon Sultan, Surrounded Cylinder
Surrounded Cylinder, 2020
Gouache and ink on hand-toned paper
13 3/4 x 14 1/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Through a Circle
Through a Circle, 2020
Gouache and ink on hand-toned paper
12 x 14 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Center Round
Center Round, 2020
Gouache and ink on hand-toned paper
11 5/8 x 13 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Transparent
Transparent, 2020
Hand-dyed wool on linen
16 1/4 x 14 3/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Two Circles
Two Circles, 2020
Hand-dyed wool on linen
14 x 14 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Green Arc
Green Arc, 2020
Hand-dyed wool on linen
15 x 12 inches
Altoon Sultan, Sphere
Sphere, 2020
Hand-dyed wool on linen
16 x 11 inches
Altoon Sultan, Planes
Planes, 2020
Hand-dyed wool on linen
17 5/8 x 12 1/4 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Spin
Spin, 2019
Hand-dyed wool on linen
15 1/4 x 15 1/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Inside and Out
Inside and Out, 2019
Hand-dyed wool and egg tempera on linen
18 x 18 inches
Altoon Sultan, Embracing Shapes
Embracing Shapes, 2019
Hand-dyed wool and egg tempera on linen
19 1/2 x 16 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Contained
Contained, 2020
Hand-dyed wool and egg tempera on linen
15 x 12 inches
Altoon Sultan, Drop
Drop, 2020
Hand-dyed wool and egg tempera on linen
15 x 12 inches
Altoon Sultan, Segments
Segments, 2020
Hand-dyed wool and egg tempera on linen
15 x 12 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
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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
Altoon Sultan, installation 14
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 15
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, installation 16
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, installation 17
Installation view
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