Carol Sutton (artist)

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Carol Lorraine Sutton; born September 3, 1945, is a multi-disciplined artist born in Norfolk, Virginia, USA and now living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is an award-winning painter whose works on canvas and paper have been shown in 32 solo exhibits as well as being included in 94 group shows. Her work, which ranges from complete abstraction to the use of organic and architectural images, relates to the formalist ideas of Clement Greenberg and is noted for the use of color. Sutton was encouraged by critic Michael Fried[1] whom she met 1n 1986 at Triangle Artist Workshop. Some of Sutton paintings have been related to ontology.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

The daughter of Robert William Sutton, a designer and manufacturer of marine instruments and Nancy Chester Sustare, artist and homemaker, Carol spent her first six years living in a log cabin high on the sand dunes of Chesapeake Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. She studied at Richmond Professional Institute (VCU) in Richmond and later at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG),[3] where her professors introduced her to the work of Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. Sutton met Barnett Newman by introduction of her professor Jewett Campbell as she related to the space used in his paintings. She later moved to Canada and is married to the sculptor André Fauteux with whom she has two children, Viva-Laura Sutton-Fauteux and Yale Sutton-Fauteux.

Early career[edit]

When Sutton was twenty-two, her work entered the Jacob Kainen Collection, of the Smithsonian Museum of American Art with a portfolio of sixteen serigraphs titled 'The Artist As A Young Woman - Picabia'. Thinking that her artistic goals and the materials she used were similar to those of Eva Hesse, Will Insley, Sutton’s professor at UNCG, introduced the two women in 1969 in his New York loft. Working on large sculpture in the isolation of her studio in Greensboro, North Carolina Sutton was offered a solo show of these works at The O.K. Harris Gallery in New York. A move to Canada and the collapse of her marriage prevented her from taking up the offer. It would be eight years later before Sutton would return to New York to show as an artist, this time as a painter not a sculptor. In Canada Sutton produced multiple exhibitions across Canada and showed with the Theo Waddington Galleries Ltd, and later at Gallery One in Toronto. In Toronto, Sutton also did sculpture collaborations with contemporary electronic music composers. In Canada Sutton’s work was encouraged by the critics Clement Greenberg and Karen Wilkin, and influenced by the artists Anthony Caro and Helen Frankenthaler, all of whom regularly came to her Toronto studio. Fauteux introduced Sutton to Jack Bush in 1974 and has been included in a number of exhibitions related to Bush’s influence. In 1977, Sutton had her first Canadian exhibition at the A.C.T. Gallery. In 1978 Sutton held her first New York one-woman show at the William Edward O’Reilly Gallery.In the U.S.A. Sutton's work was noted by critic Kenworth Moffett, the Contemporary Curator of The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, who purchased her work 'Alvertie' for their collection and included her in the André Emmerich Gallery touring show, The New Generation: A Curator's Choice.

Later career[edit]

Sutton is mainly known for her large scale abstract acrylic paintings, which she paints with her canvas laid directly on the floor. Related to the tradition of Color Field Painting her art has been linked by prominent critics to the art movement called Lyrical Abstraction. Her smaller paper works often take on unusual structural forms and have widely extended edges, sometimes cut in wave shapes. In 1987 Sutton was one of the few international artists invited to participate in the Art Triangle Workshop in Barcelona, her third Triangle workshop. Two years later a major Canada Council Grant allowed her to again travel to Europe to photograph and study ironwork throughout Spain and France. The experience resulted in some of her most powerful paintings, especially a series titled 'THE SPIRIT BALCONY PAINTINGS'. Roald Nasgaard, in his book ‘Abstract Painting[4] in Canada', writes of the artist, "Always a fluid and luscious painter of great gusto, comfortable with intimacy as well as the grand scale.”

Major group exhibitions[edit]

  • 1968 Gallery of Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, now called South Eastern Center for Contemporary Art - SECCA' -The Curator and Director then was Ted Potter: sculpture. Title: 'Five Pink Polyethylene Plastic Bags.
  • 1969 "Art on Paper", Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A., November. Juror was Mr. Richard Bellamy, of New York City. (2 works, black paper 3' x 5 2/3" rolled, pinned & clipped with paper clips, 1969)
  • 1969 "Montpelier Farm Stable Show of Eight Artists", Landover, Upper Marlboro, Maryland, October ( sculpture of glass titled: 'Global March'
  • 1976 "Olympiad XXI", Montreal, Quebec, (4 paintings)
  • 1976 "Abstractions", Gallery-Straford, Stratford, Ontario, Canada; Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, France; and Canada House, London, England ("Untitled :Tropical Series" painting, 1976)
  • 1977 "New Abstract Art", Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,
  • 1978 "Certain Traditions: Recent British and Canadian Art" (paintings, "Lockhaven, 1977, Bay Bridge, 1977, and Cove, 1977) Touring Canada & United Kingdom: Mostyn Gallery, Lhanducho, Wales, City Art Gallery, Aberdeen, Scotland, Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, England, Commonwealth Institute, London, England
  • 1978 "Carol Sutton and Thomas Downing", William Edward O'Reilly Inc., New York, New York, U.S.A
  • 1980 "The Staff Collects - An Experiment" - Shell Canada, Harbourfront Art Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 1980 "Sutton, Saito, and Ross", Salander-O'Reilly Galleries Inc., New York, New York, U.S.A. ( paintings)
  • 1980 "The New Generation: A Curator's Choice by Kenworth Moffett", Premiere- The Andre Emmerich Gallery, New York, New York, September 4 to 27 and then touring Europe in 1981 to; American Cultural Centre, Paris, France, Amerika House, Berlin, West Germany, Arzore Cooperative, Porto, Portugal, Sociedade Nacional de Belas Artes, Lisbon, Portugal
  • 1981 to 1982 "The Heritage of Jack Bush", (paintings 'Raleigh Red', 1981 and 'Pink Float', 1979) In Canada: Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario, Koffler Centre for the Arts, Willowdale, Ontario, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Medicine Hat Museum, Medicine Hat, Alberta, Burlington Cultural Centre, Burlington, Ontario, Rodman Hall, St. Catharines, Ontario, Gallery - Stratford,Stratford, Ontario, Sir George Williams University, Montreal, Quebec
  • 1981 Three Person Group Museum Show: "Carol Sutton, Kikuo Saito, and Terrance Keller", Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, ( "Fan Series" -including, 'Titan', 1981, 'Clarion', 1977, and 'Fruition', 1981)
  • 1982 "Color II", paintings by John Griefen, Darryl Hughto, Carol Sutton, Dan Christensen, Kikuo Saito, Susan Roth, and Clifford Ross, Martha White Gallery, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A.(paintings - "Fan Series" -, 'Crossroads, 1981, and 'Umbrian Royal, 1982)
  • 1982 "Selected Paintings of Contemporary Abstractionists", paintings by Carol Sutton, Ronnie Landfield, Darryl Hughto, Saito, Zox, Susan Roth, Tammany, Harman, and Francis, (paintings - "Fan Series" -'Clay Roses', 1981, and 'Crystal Brown Royal', 1981)
  • 1985 "The MBA (Boston) Hines Contemporary Art Collection", University Place at Harvard Square, Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
  • 1987 "V.I.P..........A Selection of Very Important Painters celebrating their work of the 80's", Gallery One, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 29 to December 17, (paintings by: Stanley Boxer, Joseph Drapell, Fridel Dzubas, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Doug Haynes, David. Hockney, Katja Jacobs, Robert Motherwell, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, Frank Stella, and Carol Sutton)
  • 1998, -"Abstraction Now", Selected by Karen Wilkin"-, place: Gallery One, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Featuring paintings by: Ann Clarke, Michele Drouin, Katja Jacobs, Harold Feist, Joseph Drapell, Douglas Haynes, Bill Kort, Bobby Tamo, Alice Teichert, and Carol Sutton. Lecture given by Karen Wilkin. Painting included was: 'Salient Balcony', 1990
  • 1999/2000 - 'Abstraction- A Curator's Choice', The Art Gallery of Algoma, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. "Guest curator, Christiane Becker, was born in Cologne, Germany - Becker arrived at a list of five abstract painters: Joseph Drapell; Harold Feist; Paul Fournier; Carol Sutton; and, Jean McEwen.
  • 2003, Grand Re-Opening Saturday April 12, 2003 - The Fitzwilliam Museum of Cambridge, United Kingdom, [1] has loaned two paintings, Virginia Greens (1981) and Floral Tops (1986),
  • 2007, The Sam & Adele Golden Foundation for the Arts, 10 Year Celebration & Art Auction Benefit, New Berlin, NY
  • 2009, Bright Colours, Big Canvas: Jack Bush', at Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, by Alicia Boutilier | Curator of Canadian Historical Art. Includes artists: David Bolduc, Paul Fournier, Milly Ristvedt, Alex Cameron, Dan Solomon, and K.M. Graham and Carol Sutton, with the painting: Mint Julep Nude. 1978

Music commissions[edit]

  • 1972 AUTOMATIC DUO by David Jaeger and James Montgomery
  • 1973 FANCYE(^ Reference 11) by David Jaeger and Carol Sutton for Organ Toronto, Ontario, Canada and computer synthesized sound, moving sculpture, still sculpture and lights, for New Music Concerts, Concert Hall Organ - Inaugural Concerts, Edward Johnson Building, University of Toronto. Martin Liefhebber drawing of Fancye by Jaeger and Sutton

Painting commissions[edit]

  • 1987 THE EYE OF THE OVAL a painting apx. 8 feet by 18 feet for Orlando, Florida, USA Cineplex Odeon Corporation of Sand Lake Seven Cinemas

Selected public collections[edit]

  • The Smithsonian Museum of American Art or SAAM:as Carol Sutton-Martin
  • The Museum of Fine Arts Boston
  • The Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, or MACBA)
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum of Cambridge, United Kingdom, The New Hall Art Collection [2]
  • The Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Agnes Etherington Art Centre Kingston, Ontario, Canada [3]
  • Canada Council Art Bank Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Tuna, 1977 and Penny Royal 1977.
  • Memorial University of Newfoundland Art Gallery Saint Johns, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, (AGGV),Victoria, British Columbia, Canada


  • 1963 Blue Ribbon / First Place in Junior Section/ 'Sears-Allstate Tidewater Arts Festival.
  • 1966 & 1967 Virginia Museum Fellowship
  • 1967 The Gold Key and Art Achievement Award, Richmond Professional Institute (now Virginia Commonwealth University)
  • 1967 Full Tuition Scholarship, to attend the 'School of Visual Arts' in New York City, New York, U.S.A.
  • 1968, & 1969 Teaching Fellowship, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.
  • 1969 Receives M.F. A. degree, Masters of Fine Art degree, from University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.
  • 1969 CHANCELLORS PURCHASE AWARD, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A., purchase of large scale sculpture by 'Weatherspoon Art Gallery', Greensboro, N.C.
  • Ontario Arts Council, Ontario, Canada 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979
  • CANADA COUNCIL ARTS 'B' BURSARY, Canada Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 1983
  • CANADA COUNCIL PROJECT TRAVEL COST, for travel to Triangle Artists Workshop, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 1988
  • CANADA COUNCIL SENIOR ARTS 'A' BURSARY, with travel cost to do photography in Barcelona, Spain, Madrid, Spain and Paris, France 1992

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Karen Wilkin Certain Traditions: Recent British and Canadian Art, 1978
  • Karen Wilkin Carol Sutton:,ARTS Magazine, December 1979 [5]
  • Kenworth Moffett The New Generation: A Curator's Choice, exhibition catalogue essay, illustrated, André Emmerich Gallery, New York
  • Karen Wilkin Selections from The Westburne Collection, The Edmonton Art Gallery, catalogue 1982
  • James Clark The Problem of Fundamental Ontology, Volume III, Limits Book Company, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Published 1973
  • Terry Fenton Feature Article: Canadians, Carol Sutton, Update, Volume 3, No. 1, January/February 1982, The Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • David Burnett & Marilyn Schiff illustrated, Contemporary Canadian Art, Co-published by Hurtig & Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Walter Darby Bannard- Carol Sutton's New Paintings- The Water Spiral Series, exhibition catalogue essay, Gallery One, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • David Burnett Cineplex Odeon The First Ten Years- A Celebration of Contemporary Canadian Art, ISBN 0-9693835-0-9
  • Donna Lypchuk Carol Sutton: Eye Of The Vortex, The Silhouette-Grill-Balcony Paintings, cover and feature article, Artpost 33, Summer, 1989
  • Lypchuk, Donna, Exhibition essay 'A Spanner in The Works - Ethos and Spirituality in Abstract Painting' for show at Oakham House, Ryerson University, by Terrance Sulymko Fine Art, November 1990
  • Reed Publishing Who's Who in American Art, 1990
  • Sotheby's Important Canadian Art, Auction & exhibition catalogue, May 31, 1990, Toronto, ON
  • International Biographical Centre International Who's Who of Intellectuals, 9th edition, Cambridge, England, Spring 1991
  • R.R. Bowker Company, American Federation of Arts, Database Publishing Group - Art - 1990 -Who's Who in American Art, 1991–92
  • Joan Murray - 'Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century', Dundurn Press, Toronto, Oxford,
  • Landfield, Ronnie,, The Whitney Museum Ends the American Century, The American Century: Art and Culture - Part 2, 1950 – 2000, The Whitney Museum of American Art, September 26, 1999 – February 13, 2000, by Ronnie Landfield© 1999
  • McGowan, Alison C (Editor), Who's Who in American Art-2004
  • Roald Nasgaard, Abstract Painting in Canada, (soft-back) Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN 978-1-55365-226-7


  1. ^ Fried, Michael, Triangle Artists' Workshop, published catalog, 1986, Triangle Arts Trust
  2. ^ James Clark The Problem of Fundamental Ontology, Volume III, Limits Book Company, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Published 1973
  3. ^ Reed Publishing Who's Who in American Art, 1990
  4. ^ Abstract Painting in Canada, Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre, pages Pages: 261, 262, and 124, 2007
  5. ^ ARTS Magazine, December 1979, Volume 54. No. 4, (William Edward O'Reilly, through November 30), by the Art Digest Co., New York, NY, USA, page 16

External links[edit]