Ann Sutton


There is no path. You make the path by walking.
(Antonio Machado)

Notes on football:
Many men kicking a ball around is interesting only for those doing the kicking, and then only for a short time.
Divide the men into two opposing sides and have two goals for the ball to reach, and it becomes interesting to play and to watch. For a while.
Add some more rules, with penalties, and it becomes a sport played and watched avidly by millions

So it is with work: relevant rules and obstacles generate energies for the artist, reflecting into the work if they are sound enough.

My work often starts with the material and its properties. Once we have played, and are in tune, the material will provide parameters: instructions to the user. Paint rarely does this, which is why I don’t like working with it. Where I use colour it is not in any aesthetic way, but as a locator and to differentiate. Sometimes the results are aesthetically interesting, and that may come though healthy relationships of material and concept, and if it does then that is a bonus, but it is never an aim.

Drawing interests me because of its purity and its usual limitation of working tools and media.
But it is a path very well walked in its representational form, and also now in mark-making. Taught and hackneyed ‘skills’ are difficult to eliminate. The traditional beautiful line is of no interest. Awkward lines are much more vital.

I travel by freight ships, and the vibrations can be annoying. They influence the pencil: any human control is out of the question. The ship takes over, and its location, speed and the weather are reflected. Rows of awkward marks where I try to make work are interesting. Turning the paper at right angles and making the marks as a grid was electrifying: the image became dynamic. If ships are not around, then old cars and trains make their own imagery.

The two-dimensional qualities of drawing were there to be challenged. Why shouldn’t the lines lift off the surface and work with each other, and against each other? So my spatial drawings were conceived. The viewer is needed: the slightest movement, even of the eyes alone, results in changing imagery, and it is never ending. Rules and parameters: lines are of certain proscribed lengths, are curved or kinked, are placed in grids or not. Two-dimensional lines drawn or splashed onto the support combine and play with the three-dimensional ones. And the viewer is actively involved all the time.

On unqualified freedom: I would as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down.
(Robert Frost)


Born 1935 North Staffordshire, England

Won: all art prizes at school. Failed: Art O-level

1951-56 Cardiff College of Art
1960 ‘Visitor’ Cardiff College of Art
1961-68 Student/tutor Basic Course (Harry Thubron, Terry Frost, Hubert Dalwood, etc)
and Kenneth Martin, Glamorgan Summer School, Barry
1963-65 Part-time lecturer: Croydon College of Art
1967-74 Part-time lecturer: North Oxfordshire School of Art, Banbury
1968 Guest lecturer, Leeds School of Art (Harry Thubron)
1970 Won joint 1st prize: "Sculpture '70" - Welsh Arts Council Competition
V&A purchased and commissioned prints for solo show: ”Textile Images on Paper", Victoria & Albert Museum (Circulation Dept.)
1974 Logical colour scheme for Keble College, Oxford. Architects: Ahrends, Burton & Koralek
1977-88 Contemporary Art Society committee member
1979 Offered two-year residency: Stedelik Museum, Amsterdam
1983 Buyer (paintings/sculpture) for Contemporary Art Society
1983-present Buyer of art for private clients
1985 Large solo exhibition: commissioned to show relationship of weave to the Constructivist
collection in Norrkopings Konstmuseum, Sweden (Southern Arts and British Council)
1988-90 Member of Government Steering Group "PerCent for Art" Arts Council
1989 Initiated the internationally first 'Gallery Trail', Arundel Festival (50 temporary art galleries)
1990 Consultant: Public Art: Southampton Art Gallery refurbishment (National Award)
1990-94 Trustee: Oxford Artists Group: Chiltern Sculpture Trail
1991 Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.)
1992- 95 Board Member: Southern Arts (Regional Arts Board)
1996 Consultant: Museum of Science & Industry, Manchester
(New gallery: advising, commissioning, and buying art)
2003 National 1st prize: Fine Book Binding Award: BPIF Book Awards
Lead Artist at The Point Eastleigh Borough Council (Architects Burrell Foley Fischer), Phase 1
2005 Founded Site Editions (editions of sculpture for gardens)
Created Professor by the University of the Arts, London 2005
Created Senior Fellow: Royal College of Art 2005
Created third Artist Patron: Contemporary Art Society 2005 (with Anthony Caro & Bridget Riley)
2010 Lead Artist at The Point, Eastleigh Borough Council (Architects: Burrell Foley Fischer), Phase 2
2010-present Studio research: painting, leading to drawing, leading to spatial drawing
2014 Counterpoint, curated by Gill Hedley, Patrick Heide Contemporary Art, London