Born and raised in California, C. J.
Phillips began her first forays into painting while working as an editor
and translator at the National Museum of History in Taipei, Taiwan.
Many of the greatest Chinese masters of that period gave demonstrations
of their skills, and C. J. then went home to imitate what she had seen.
After she returned to the States in 1985, she began to experiment with other water-based media in combination with the traditional ones, and painted a series of koi, horses, and landscapes that blended ancient styles with a modern sensibility. This work was shown in a number of galleries and museums, and commissions were also done for private collectors. Her first solo exhibition was at the Rosicrucian Museum in San Jose in 1990, and her work has been shown in many solo and group exhibitions since then.
Two of C. J.’s most recent series – Waking Dreams and Portals – deal respectively with the dream world and the passage between this world and the next. Her home and studio are on cemetery grounds, an unusual choice that perhaps has served to augment her interest in otherworldly matters.
These paintings are sensual and philosophical responses to the age-old questions of who we are and where we eventually go. While highly decorative, they are also philosophical and contemplative. Inspired by Chinese and Buddhist philosophies and other mystic traditions, C. J. creates images where realities overlap and insistent inquiry seeps out of the edges.