Alyssa Pheobus Mumtaz

20 Feb – 29 Mar 2014

Active Door

Alyssa Pheobus Mumtaz’s intricately crafted drawings unfold at the intersection of abstraction, geometry and sacred symbolism. Meditative both in form and orientation, her work examines interiorizing spatial metaphors. Pheobus Mumtaz’s imagined spaces are alternately labyrinthine, portal-like, emptied, inverted, and in many instances, simultaneously static and dynamic; their charged inner and outer zones lock together in states of equilibrium determined by geometric principles.

On the level of practice, Pheobus Mumtaz approaches her work with an attitude of devotion. Many of the concerns of traditional craftsmanship govern her methods, which frequently reenact the repetitive graphic vocabulary of nomadic textiles. 

If there is one pivotal archetype that animates the work presented in Active Door, it is a canoe afloat on vast, open darkness. Many of Pheobus Mumtaz’s geometric abstractions represent water as an angular visual rhythm; others allude to it through the sensual handmade indigo paper on which the images have been inscribed. The wayfaring vessel that haunts these works is, by nature, fragile and contingent, and yet its reflections offer no sense of drift. Instead, they constellate the boat that must be rowed with other symbolic keys that call for action: an obstacle to face; a door to enter; a ladder to climb; a guide to follow. 

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