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Bay College hosts winter art exhibit: Marquette woman is featured artist

This is “Secret Identity-Rachel and Pipes” by Carol Phillips. An exhibition of her work can be viewed on Bay College’s Main Campus in the Besse Gallery through Feb. 24. (Photo courtesy of Bay College)

ESCANABA — Bay College has announced the Winter Art Exhibit, “Secret Identity,” featuring the artwork of Carol Phillips.

The art exhibition of Phillips’ work can be viewed on the Bay College Main Campus in the Besse Gallery through Feb. 24.

Phillips began her art education at the University of Idaho where she studied liberal arts. She continued her studies at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, a studio school specifically for clay, located in Sun Valley, Idaho. She later finished her bachelor of fine arts degree with an emphasis in ceramics at the University of Washington in Seattle where she lived for 15 years, working as a chef and later working with commercial photographers as a food stylist.

In 2002, Phillips moved with her husband to Marquette. At Northern Michigan University, she earned a certification in art education and now teaches art at Powell Township School in Big Bay, a small school of 40 students in grades kindergarten through 8.

Phillips is the curator of visual art for the city of Marquette’s gallery venues and is the director of a nonprofit organization for the art enrichment of rural children, Liberty Children’s Art Project.

Although beginning her studio art practice in clay, she now primarily works as an oil painter, using various surfaces including clay.

This is Phillips’ artist statement:

“I began my work as an artist in the area of ceramics with wheel-thrown and hand-built forms, both functional and nonfunctional. These organic forms with their continuous line have found their way into my paintings and despite an occasional effort to expel them, are stubbornly dominate.

“Concerning color, the saturated hues found in my work are influenced by a love of folk art, outsider art and the use of color in early 21st century functional ceramics such as Fiesta Ware and the ceramic work of Russel Wright. I recall from a young age being very disappointed when my paint-by-number sets had only one brilliant color to be applied to a tiny area amidst masses of brown and gray. In this way, vivid color has always been my preference.”

She said that in “Secret Identity,” she is experimenting with that narrative in the classic genre of portraiture and human expression.

“In these visual biographies of women I know, who all live in the same small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I’m looking for a glimpse of not-so-obvious traits, searching out clues about their personality that isn’t always apparent,” Phillips said.

Bay College, through the Besse Gallery and Hartwig Gallery, provides students with exposure to exhibitions, visiting artists and artist talks exemplifying the cultural breadth of the visual arts from national, regional and local sources, including the college’s permanent art collection.

On-campus studios include professional facilities and equipment in ceramics, photography, digital cinema, graphic arts, painting, drawing, sculpture, performance and installation.

For more information on art and design classes and programs offered at Bay College, visit www.baycollege.edu.

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