Ambreen Butt is best known for her "revisionist miniatures," paintings done in the traditional South Asian Mughal style, but depicting a tree sprouting from a woman or a woman sucking on the tail of a lion or back-to-back figures shooting a bird out of the air while blindfolded by an American flag and what looks like the green flag of Hamas or Saudi Arabia.
These stiffly rendered miniature paintings won her the Museum of Fine Arts' Maud Morgan Prize for local women artists in 2006 and the Institute of Contemporary Art's Foster Prize for top local talent in 1999.
In her show at Carroll and Sons, Butt's craft has grown more dazzling. I Am My Lost Diamond covers two gallery walls with radiating constellations of magenta resin fingers and toes. They seem disconcertingly like severed appendages, but also sort of gimmicky. An untitled work arranges hundreds of little strips of paper, some printed with undecipherable text, into two swirling designs inside decorative borders like facing pages of a mammoth album.
According to an Art New England interview with Butt, these are, respectively, supposed to be about a friend who escaped a bombing in Pakistan, and contrasting statements by a federal prosecutor and Tarek Mehanna, a Sudbury man convicted of terrorism last year. But the works don't reveal these subjects, and Butt provides no statement with the show.
AMBREEN BUTT :: Carroll and Sons, 450 Harrison Ave, Boston :: Through December 22
: Museum And Gallery
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