Altoon Sultan Exhibition

McKenzie Fine Art

poster for Altoon Sultan Exhibition
[Image: Altoon Sultan "Peak" (2020) Egg tempera on calfskin parchment stretched over wood panel 9 3/4 x 13 in.]
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Ends in 11 days

McKenzie Fine Art presents the new year with an exhibition of recent work by Altoon Sultan. This is the fourth solo exhibition at the gallery for the Brooklyn-born, Vermont-based artist, and will feature paintings, drawings, and textile works.

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.

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.”



from January 06, 2021 to February 14, 2021


Altoon Sultan

Website (venue's website)



Venue Hours

From 11:00 To 18:00
sundays opening at 12:00,
Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays


Address: 55 Orchard St., New York, NY 10002
Phone: 212-989-5467 Fax: 212-989-5642

Between Grand and Hester Sts. Subway: D to Grand Street

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