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Mary Jo Strauss was born in the fifties in Dayton, Ohio. Her early art training was academic in nature, focusing on life drawing and realism at Ohio State University. Post-graduation, she continued to study architectural and Interior design in Arizona. After moving to New York City in the 1970's Mary Jo began studying hair design with Jean Louis David at Henri Bendel. Becoming immersed in a long and successful career as a hairstylist she did not pick up a paint brush for many years. Once she retired, Mary Jo renewed her passion for painting and studied in Bali, Indonesia under the world renowned Balinese abstract painter, Karja. This experience, combined with her past studies formed a new style for her in the abstract and modern world of art.
" No matter what medium I explore, my central theme remains the same; I speak with emotion - always from the heart.”
My latest body of work is titled Women's Emotions. Everyone of my paintings tells a story and I think most women can find a personal connection and maybe an uplifting message.
"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in" (Leonard Cohen)
I am using a textured handcrafted wallpaper which takes on the effect of cracked old leather. This texture allows the paint and subject matter to take a form of its own.
The paper is mounted on hard board, which is supported by a wood frame allowing the piece to look as if it is floating off the wall.
A sheet of clear Plexiglass on metal standoff spacers covers the entire front of the painting. My medium is mixed using acrylics and oils and sometimes adding found objects which gives them even more dimension.