New York

Adeela Suleman

Aicon Gallery New York

Most of the seven sculptures by Adeela Suleman recently on view at Aicon Gallery (all works 2010) may be called reliefs. Crafted from hammered steel, the works rise slightly from the gallery walls, appearing abstract as they glisten with intricate detail. They are, in fact, elaborately figurative: Birds, often flanking large plants, ornamentally proliferate, as do vases, drapery, and crowns. And despite their extravagance, the reliefs retain a sparse, self-contained, and precious look, partly because they are spread across the gallery walls with a good deal of space between them, but all the more so because of their heraldic near symmetry.

But close inspection gives them away: They’re profoundly ironic. For example, at the center of the resplendent Untitled 2 (Peacocks with Drapes)—mounted by a leaf, flanked by two birds, and floating above a drooping plant with peacocks on either side—is

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