“In our work together, we make dimensional paintings–mixing media, genre and technologies—using metals, metallic paints, glass, wood, clay, ink, paper, oxidation, and tarnish. Part of the challenge for us often involves taking inherently unstable, “accidental” materials—such as gold tarnish—and making them stable, archival, and purposeful. Consequently, our work studies change, emphemerality, the nature of collaboration, the interplay of male and female, the elements of perception.”
For the initial ten years of their marriage, Mari and Joe Giddings-Axton maintained separate studios and separate signatures. Their son, David (1998), was their first officially collaborative work.
Mari studied painting with Meryl Mahaffey before finishing her degree under master printer Wayne Kimball at Arizona State University’s world-renowned printmaking program. After graduation, she served a three-year apprenticeship with painter-printmaker Robert A. Devoe, who, she says, “taught me, finally, that art could simply be about beauty.” She adds, “I see myself primarily as a colorist, in the tradition of Matisse, Bonnard, Turner, and Rothko.”
Joe began his art career as a scene designer and stage painter–bringing, he feels, three-dimensionality and theatricality to the Giddings-Axton collaboration. “Plus,” he says, “a sense of audience and purpose that a classical
art education often forgets.” Joe studied at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz and Northern Arizona University, and did his doctoral work in art theory at the City University of New York.
Giddings-Axton artworks can be found in numerous private and corporate collections, including ASU Permanent Collections, the Target Corporate Collection, America West Airlines Corporate Collection, and the Disneyland Hotel. They are represented by galleries in Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. Their publisher, Editions Limited of San Francisco, distributes their work world-wide.