Mary Philpott

BIOGRAPHY

Mary grew up in Oakville Ontario, and studied Art History at the University of Guelph, and spent some time at McMaster University doing Archeology and Anthropology before discovering her love for clay and textile design.
She attended the School of Crafts and Design at Sheridan College, and then began a residency at the Harbourfront Craft Studios before opening her own teaching studio in Toronto.
In 2002 she moved to Stratford and had a tile design studio there until 2015, when she had moved her studio to Uxbrdige to live on an old farm. Mary’s studio practice moved to become predominantly sculptural work in 2011. Mary has attended Artist Residencies in Canada and France, with plans for next years residency in Toulouse, southwest France. Her work is shown and collected internationally in both private and public collections.

ARTIST STATEMENT

My work is inspired by Nature that surrounds us: by the birds at the feeder, the mice scurrying in the grasses; the deer that lift their head to gaze at the intruder in their forest;
and by the Ravens Call.
It is inspired by the commonplace activities of our Natural World. Within that world, if you are very quiet, and be ‘In’ that place, you might come upon the Liminal spaces that tie our world to the world of Myth and Folklore.
Reading is my most treasured activity and I draw much of my inspiration for my work from novels, foremost of which is The Peregrine by JA Baker, as well as the writings of Thoreau, cultural ecology of David Abrams, Robert McFarlane, Peter Wohlleben and Roger Deakin as well as poetry from William Blake and Ted Hughes.
With a degree in Art History, my world became filled with inspiration from historical painting such as The Symbolists and Pre-Raphaelites, as well as a love for children's Book illustrations from the Nineteenth century. Gothic architecture, and Medieval Tapestries fill the world with such beauty and Narrative that cannot but inspire.
Living in the countryside, I have found that the natural world and its inhabitants have replaced the hustle and bustle of the small city, where the birds of prey and the otter have become the characters, I see when I walk. I am constantly reminded of Baker’s observation “The hardest thing of all to see is what is really There.”
My work has evolved into an exploration of the wildlife, learning to actually See them, and their activities, without relating it to the human animal. They become a portrait, of the life of another creature, without nostalgia.