This month, we present My Scars Are My Tattoos by Portland artist Mary Josephson. Josephson paints community: people of all ages, genders, and colors, with the vibrancy and flair of a folk artist. While she started her career as a painter, Josephson has added embroidery on tapestry and mosaic with mirror and glass into her image making. This exhibition, as have many before, features a portrait of her daughter, and it is this portrait that lends itself to the show title. As a teenager, her daughter wanted a tattoo. Josephson told her that just living would mark her body, that life with its cuts and bruises and marks from the sun are like one big tattoo and that, embellishments are not needed as “nothing is as beautiful as what is already there.” That embracing and inclusive attitude runs through all of Mary Josephson’s work.
Josephson is known for her expressive imagery of people and animals in the urban and natural world. She explores ideas related to the world of perception and experience: ideas, dreams, and secrets exposed through the use of shadow, filtered light, or a far- away glance. Through bold paintings, glass tile mosaics, and embroidery, Josephson delights in a range of people and experience that evoke the rich fabric of human life.