Maria Phillips

at what point…

A selection of work about collective responsibility.

Maria Phillips. Pick-up Portrait: 11.13.23, 2023. Rubber packaging, film plastic, face wipe, plastic lid, and plastic fragments. 8 1/2 x 5 inches. Photo: Jamie Kinney
  • May 2 - 30, 2024
  • Opening: Thursday, May 2, 6:00 — 8:00pm

at what point… is a testament to Maria Phillips’ deep-rooted commitment to environmental consciousness and sustainability. Embracing a philosophy centered on minimizing harm and reducing impact, she employs a practice of depolluting, repurposing, and utilizing materials sourced exclusively from her immediate surroundings. Confronted by the abundance of these collected and generated materials, Phillips endeavors to salvage and imbue them with meaning, delving into the transformative potential of reclamation. Her creations, characterized by the fusion of found objects, serve as tangible reminders of change, documenting the flow of time and the cyclical nature of existence.

Phillips’ transient installations, or pick-up portraits, offer a glimpse into the interconnectedness of everyday ephemera and reflect visible cycles and the spaces between them. These works mimic nature’s patterns and highlight the beauty and significance of the seemingly mundane. Her manipulated and transformed objects also raise questions about viability and our collective responsibility to the ecosystem we inhabit. Phillips challenges conventional norms of cultural production, scrutinizing the coherence between our apprehension regarding climate disruption and reliance on materials such as plastics.

Through all her work, Phillips encourages introspection, dialogue, and proactive and ethical engagement to foster a more sustainable and harmonious world. She advocates for a paradigm shift towards de-growth and underscores the importance of deceleration and the rejection of frenetic consumerism and production.

About the Artist

Maria Phillips is an artist and educator based in Seattle, WA. Her practice considers the intersections of home, the natural environment, and the studio, where she investigates often-overlooked aspects of everyday life and domestic routines. Phillips leverages these observations and translates the tangible material of her experiences into multi-dimensional constructions that reflect hidden truths of our interconnected world.

Phillip’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Art and Design New York, the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Seattle University Art Collection, the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Rotassa Foundation, and numerous private collections. In recognition of her artistic achievements, Phillips was awarded the John and Joyce Price Award of Excellence for her work in the Bellevue Art Museum Biennial, resulting in her solo exhibition, Hidden in Plain Sight. Currently, Phillips is a manager of the King County Artist in Residence Program for the recycling company Recology and is actively engaged in education and critique at various institutions across the nation. She earned her BA from Loyola University in New Orleans and an MFA from the University of Washington.