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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Mary Josephson

''From the beginning, I wanted to capture in my paintings more than a likeness of the individual. I wanted the paintings to tell about the character or spirit of the person depicted.

These paintings tell the stories of people caught up in the heroics of everyday life, the common place events which color our lives and shape our days.

I feel humans are godlike, possessing Olympian qualities. We each have our myths, the tales of our lives. These stories are the subject of my work. People of every race color and creed are represented in my paintings in a manner meant to inspire and empower, to fill the viewer with hope. They are strong and capable, often visually monumental, reflecting their inner stature.

I see them as fragile, yet profoundly resilient, vessels immersed in life and surrounded by the people and things that have most deeply affected them. Their tales are woven together by family, friends, animals, birds, fruits, flowers and labor. They comprise a visual mythology grounded in a world filled with color.

Good humor pervades these images, along with a faith in the ability of an individual to rise above adversity. As time passes, I have come to recognize that I will never lack for subject matter; life provides a myriad of stories, I need only record them in paint.''

Born: 1953 Biloxi Mississippi

''As part of military family, which made frequent moves, constant change of scenery was very much a part of growing up. I learned to read people below the surface and make friends quickly. My childhood was spent in the desert communities of the American southwest at a time when Western movies and television shows were at the peak of popularity so the bridge between what is real and imaginary was built for me at an early age. Exploration of the desert terrain revealed an adventure land teeming with life rather than the vast emptiness apparent upon first glance. The revelation that people and things may not be how they seem has been a life-long metaphor for me.

Living in the fertile San Joaquin Valley taught me an appreciation for the cycle of planting and harvesting. The United Farm workers boycotts of the 1960’s and 70’s taught an appreciation for honest labor and brought a rich mix of culture into my life.

Living close to the border between the United States and Mexico in Southern California taught me appreciate and respect other cultures and different modes of expression. It also taught me that basic human needs and desires transcend cultures.
My experience as a woman artist led me to focus on what it means to be a human, who happens to be a woman now, especially in a society where lasting physical beauty is paramount.

The love of color and form has permeated every aspect of my life from earliest memory. It is a very powerful weapon and tool.

Painting has allowed me to express how I feel about the world more clearly than any other mode of communication. Through it I am able to express what is constant about the cycle of life and what continuously rings true although metamorphosing and changing.

Individual Artist's Fellowship In Visual Arts, Painting, Oregon Arts Commission
Monomania Printmaking Fellowship, Pacific N.W. College of Art, Portland, OR
Capital Press Award, Art About Agriculture, Oregon State University
Artist in Residence, Roswell Museum of Art, Roswell, NM
Air Touch Cellular Commission Print, “Faces” Exhibition, Seattle, WA
Juror’s Award, “Art About Agriculture”, Oregon State University, Corvallis
The Edwin Austin Abbey Fellowship for Mural Painting, National Academy of Design NYC, NY

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