Altoon Sultan: In Conversation

Altoon Sultan, Shadow Ladder, 2013, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 9 1/2 x 7
Altoon Sultan, Shadow Ladder, 2013, egg tempera on calfskin parchment, 9 1/2 x 7 1/4 inches (courtesy of the artist)

Jeff Hogue talks to painter Altoon Sultan about her work and career.

Sultan comments: "Some artists are quite deliberate in their intention to express meaning in their work; I think of Malevich, for instance, in his Suprematist works. Sometimes such a quest is successful, but I believe it has less to do with intention than with the formal qualities of the work which lead us to feeling and meaning; a poorly executed work will be only an illustration of an idea. Of course I hope my work moves a viewer, and means more than the sum of its formal parts; I’m sure all artists feel that way. Sometimes I even have a particular feeling about the work as I make it, but whether that feeling is communicated is not something I can control, or would want to. This attitude may come from my desire for humility in daily life and in the studio. Romanticism, heroic struggle, have no place in my life. I realize that art making is not an everyday activity, yet for me it is everyday and completely ordinary. It is simply what I do, which does not preclude beauty and the possibility of transcendence."