Madonna Phillips: The Shimmering Surface
In 1974 I began working in the art department of Stained Glass Assoc. Knightdale NC. During my apprenticeship at SGA I studied in New York with John Nusbaum, “master glass painter,” taking part in private classes at the Cloisters and learning traditional methods of cartoon rendering and glass painting. I participated in designing and painting glass for many years at SGA.
During the 1980’s I became interested in North Carolina crafts, NC being home to the oldest craft school in America and attended classes at The Penland School. My work evolved into mixed media, fabric surface design, and working with glass beads. I became an exhibiting member of fine art guilds, Piedmont Craftsmen in Winston Salem, and Carolina Designer Craftsmen, Raleigh, NC.
The 1990’s brought more change and participation in national shows. I now had a full time studio and traveled, exhibiting in American Craft Council shows and juried shows such as the Smithsonian Craft Show. My work took a personal and feminist direction using humor in statement based work and storytelling, I began making box art with found materials. Just as Betty Friedan used magazines in her famous book, “The feminine mystique,” I used print from the past, but still relative, in my boxes and shrines.
In 2002 Sean Kelley, New York gallerist and director of Grande Arts Kansas City, traveled the state of North Carolina to choose 23 of the most innovative artists in North Carolina. Exhibition followed “Grand Arts at Green Hill, Green Hill Center for the arts in Greensboro, NC. Many exhibitions followed, Chicago’s The Artist’s Project, Pool Art Fairs in New York and Miami, Architectural Digest shows in New York. Change is a constant, I returned to working with glass but with change in materials and approach, mixing cut clear glass with found materials, my original technique. Now my work is concerned with design, science, and architecture. My work is taking new turns every day. With Ai Bo Gallery we are reaching international audiences and collectors.