“Pale Pair (for Malevich)”, hand dyed wool on linen, by Altoon Sultan (Photo: Altoon Sultan)

In recent years I’ve begun to think of all my various endeavors — painting, textiles, photography, blogging — as part of a whole artistic life, broader and more ordinary than my New York art-world life. I want to make art out of the overlooked, whether in photographs, in paintings of farm machines or in using a common craft technique. I am interested in “being rapt with satisfied attention,” as William James wrote, and I agree with the filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami when he said, “Even daily life should ultimately reach an essence that is akin to poetry.”

What a great way to finish an interview, which is exactly what Rob Colvin did in his conversation with artist Altoon Sultan on Hyperallergic.

For those of you who do not know Altoon, she is a force of nature online. From her studio and home in Vermont she frequently shares images of her recent work on her blog, Studio and Garden, and her website, Altoon Sultan.

Altoon is a highly productive artist, and I have come to look forward to the consistent stream of images that shows up on my screen. Even in their digitized presence they speak with visual clarity, primal elementality, a centered calm. They make me want to engage, to pull in closer, to touch with the eye and the hand. Often intimate in a smaller format, they feel like the embodiment of enchantment—objects that have a power far greater than it might appear. Their apparent simplicity is not what it seems. You need to stay tuned, to keep looking.

A brief overview about Altoon from Colvin’s piece:

Over the course of her 35-year career, Sultan has gone completely end-to-end across the landscape-abstraction continuum. Widely known for her finely detailed panoramas of farms shown at Marlborough Gallery for two decades, then at Tibor de Nagy, she has, in more recent years, taken to small-scale abstractions in the form of egg tempera paintings and hooked wool textiles.

In March, Sultan’s textiles made their New York debut at Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects’ optically charged booth at Scope. This coming out, as it were, along with the significant interest being given to abstraction right now, made it seem like a good time to ask Sultan a few questions about what’s been happening in her studio.

Well deserved. Congrats to you Altoon.


“2011 #2,” hand dyed wool and egg tempera on linen (Photo: Altoon Sultan)

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