Alyson Khan’s abstracts are inspired and influenced by Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern aesthetics with allusions to tribal mark making and esoteric symbology. Her rough-hewn, multi-layered compositions include hints of two-dimensional icons, stained glass windows, ceremonial garments, and carefully designed altars. Her architectural arrangements initially cause the eye to pinball around the canvas, but in a rhythmic and cyclical way that becomes a visual mantra, drawing in the viewer and focalizing into a definite feeling. The canvas becomes an intentional space where thought is suspended and one can sense the infinite. An intense spiritual retreat near the Sangre de Cristo mountains taught Khan the way of “holding space” that echoes in her studio practice where she deals in emotional themes concerning union, bridging seemingly impossible parts of our lives, mending our brokenness, and the ways we visit the abyss and emerge from it with treasures. The palette of muted earth tones, nudes, and punches of intense color always includes areas of black for its confrontational as well as paradoxical effect that is both grounding and indicative of endless depth. Khan anchors the ethereal nature of her explorations with an underlying grid structure, building a stable place from which to view and better understand the workings of the psyche.
Alyson Khan made her earliest paintings on thick shards of glass from a shattered pastry case, the forgiving surface serving as her first teacher as it allowed for extensive experimentation. On a whim in 2000, Khan exhibited these pieces at a local cafe and every single one was spoken for. Along with this formative and electrifying experience, the artist credits much of the growth of her early career with the nurturing and friendly art scene in Denver. Math-minded with a degree in writing, the artist approaches painting with a formula that includes a chaotic “first-draft” of asemic writing that she then maps with shape and color until a coherent composition arises. The hardedge style of her work has roots in sewing and quilting, crafts she learned from her mother and grandmother. Deeply spiritual and a regular meditator, the artist sees painting as a path to the transcendent and the creative process itself as a way to face uncertainty and find healing. She has been featured in publications including Create Magazine, 5280 Home, and Luxe Interiors + Design, and her paintings are now collected worldwide. The self-taught artist has been painting in Denver, CO since 1999.