Johnnene Maddison Print Biography
 
Biography
 
Growing up near the Detroit Institute of Arts had a profound impact on the rest of my life as an artist. I was able to take art lessons at the DIA from the time I was 10 years old until my late teens. Drawing while sitting on the floor beneath the Diego Rivera murals was an inspiring and empowering experience.

I earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Pratt Institute in New York City and took full advantage of the exciting world of art in New York during the early 1960s. My teachers included Phillip Pearlstein, Jacob Lawrence, Werner Pfeiffer, Fitz Eichenberg and other amazing artists. I spent a few years after graduation working in art studios in Detroit and Los Angeles before earning a Master of Arts degree at the University of Michigan. During that time I worked as a cake decorator, an interior designer, a poster artist for Hollywood Bell Telephone, a window display artist and a keyline and paste-up artist. I moved to Windsor, Ontario in 1969 and continued to teach art in a Detroit elementary school. I later worked at the Art Gallery of Windsor. I earned a teaching certificate at Althouse College in London, Ontario. That enabled me to teach in Ontario Secondary Schools, at Fanshawe College and UWO adult education classes.

My most recent exhibition, Women, Work and WWII travelled to eight Ontario public galleries and museums and was featured in magazines in Canada, the United States, England and Japan. Fifteen pieces were purchased by the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. A book by the same title was published thanks to funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. I have won first place awards in group shows in Michigan, North Carolina and Ontario. I recently won the National Visual Arts Advocacy Award from Canadian Artists' Representation (CARFAC)

After the loss on my husband, I completed a series of mixed media pieces dealing with issues of loss, grieving and recovery. They will be exhibited in March 2016 at the Mississippi Vallery Textile Museum in Almonte, Ontario.

Currently I am working in acrylics and collage on canvas. This series echoes back to my early New York years when I worked in an abstract expressionism style. I felt a need to return to that period but in an updated way. The pieces are about individuality and the experience of women as both powerful and vulnerable. Through active, almost chaotic line and brilliant colour, I confront the complexity of identity, gender and the need to reinvent myself. to me they celebrate a meeting place between Joan Mitchell and Wassily Kandinsky.