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Altoon Sultan
October 18 - November 16, 2014



Altoon Sultan’s paintings are small-scale, near abstractions of the machinery of agriculture.  The close-up, intimate views are based on photographs. Finely painted in rich and saturated colors in a strong light, the imagery is pared down to essential lines, shapes and shadows.  The artist notes that her simple forms are precisely rendered “less to make things realistic than to make them present, and to achieve an uncanny sense of tactility.” While Sultan has painted exclusively in egg tempera on panel since 2002, this new body of work is executed on parchment and was inspired by a manuscript painting exhibition at the Morgan Library and Museum in 2010.  Sultan was attracted to the smooth and sensuous surface of parchment, as well as the clarity and color in the intimate work, which, like her own paintings, demand close engagement.
 
The exhibition includes colorful drawings on paper, again inspired by a museum visit, this time to the newly re-installed Islamic wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sultan was compelled by the richness and complexity of the patterns in the decorative objects and purchased Daud Sutton’s book, Islamic Design: A Genius for Geometry.  She was attracted to a particular sacred pattern of six overlapping circles surrounding one, which refers to the six days of creation.  The resulting drawings are an ongoing investigation into the seemingly infinite variety of shapes and patterns found within this matrix.    
 
In 2005 Sultan learned rug hooking to create some home furnishings for her Vermont farmhouse.  She found she enjoyed the handwork but also that the loops of wool acted almost like directional brushstrokes and that the pieces possess a solidity akin to relief sculpture, inspiring her to create textile artworks.  Again, an exhibition proved seminal, in this instance a show of Tantric drawings at the Drawing Center.   She was drawn to the pared-down abstraction in the works that, while modernist in feel, are actually objects of spiritual meditation.  When Sultan began to execute her own geometric abstract works in wool, she found an ease in creating different, and sometimes irregular shapes.  Sultan thinks of this body of work as her homage to 20th-century minimalist abstraction.
 
  Altoon Sultan, Blue Cylinder
Blue Cylinder, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
6 x 7 7/8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Orange Rounds
Orange Rounds, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
8 1/4 x 7 inches
Altoon Sultan, Blue Verticals
Blue Verticals, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
8 1/4 x 7 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Emerging Black
Emerging Black, 2013
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
6 x 8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Green Curve
Green Curve, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
7 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Red Hose
Red Hose, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
6 1/4 x 8 1/4 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Light Fingers
Light Fingers, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
6 x 8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Curves
Curves, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
8 1/2 x 6 3/8 inches
Altoon Sultan, Disk and Pipe
Disk and Pipe, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
7 x 8 1/2 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Curves and Square
Curves and Square, 2013
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
6 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
Altoon Sultan, Shadow Ladder
Shadow Ladder, 2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
9 1/2 x 7 1/4
Altoon Sultan, Linked
Linked,2014
Egg tempera on parchment stretched over wood panel
5 1/4 x 9 1/2 inches
  Altoon Sultan, #13
#13, 2013
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #14
#14, 2013
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #8
#8, 2012
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
  Altoon Sultan, #5
#5, 2012
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #31
#31, 2014
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #2
#2, 2012
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
  Altoon Sultan, #9
#9, 2013
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #12
#12, 2013
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #23
#23, 2013
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
  Altoon Sultan, #35
#35, 2014
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #39
#39, 2014
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
Altoon Sultan, #40
#40, 2014
Egg tempera and graphite on hand-toned paper
15 x 15 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Blue Ribbon
Blue Ribbon, 2013
Hand-dyed wool on linen
25 x 18 inches
Altoon Sultan, Double Diamond
Double Diamond, 2014
Hand-dyed wool on linen
17 3/4 x 17 1/4 inches
Altoon Sultan, Red Bars
Red Bars, 2014
Hand-dyed wool on linen
12 x 10 inches
  Altoon Sultan, Two Squares and a Circle
Two Squares and a Circle, 2014
Hand-dyed wool on linen
15 1/4 x 19 inches
Altoon Sultan, Blue Arc
Blue Arc, 2014
Hand-dyed wool on linen
25 3/4 x 12 inches
  Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 1
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 2
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 3
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 4
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 5
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 6
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 7
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 8
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 9
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 10
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 11
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 12
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 13
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 14
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 15
Installation view
  Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 16
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 17
Installation view
Altoon Sultan, 2014 installation 18
Installation view
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