“There are no rules. Let the picture lead you where it must go”.  Helen Frankenthaler

I like to describe myself as a contemporary, abstract expressionist. With infinite appreciation for artists who work in realism, I choose to work in a style unbound by the rules of realism. Abstract art, to me, is freedom. Freedom of color, form, movement, emotion and the interpretation of subject matter in anyway that expresses that moment in time while I’m painting. This is what ‘abstract’ means to me. To interpret an artwork by different means, the feeling you get, what it may be, the mystery of what the artist was thinking while painting it, all these things make abstract art so interesting to me.



Mary Zio graduated with a Bachelors of Fine Art from Purchase College, outside of NY City in 1989. Studying all aspects of art, concentrating in Printmaking and Art History (had the pleasure of taking numerous classes with world renowned, Irving Sandler) and studied with such artists as Leonard Stokes (student of Josef Albers), Murray Zimiles, Margot Lovejoy, and had a two year apprenticeship with Bruce Bleach (internationally known Printmaker and painter).  When I was an art student, I quickly fell in love with all aspects of printmaking (intaglio, etching, monotype, silkscreen, lithography, woodcut, offset and paper making). I was instantly fascinated with the process of creating art, appreciating the step by step process in order to achieve the final result. Printmaking led to painting, by way of the creation of monotypes. “The freedom of painting and the process of printmaking, all rolled into one, creating monotypes led to directly painting on canvas, no need of a press, but I still think like a printmaker, and approach the canvas in that fashion, and much of my artwork is reminiscent of the layering found in printmaking techniques."

Over the last couple of years, acrylic painting has become Mary's favorite art medium. "Layering color, the use of numerous paintings mediums, playing with different brush strokes and techniques, textures, and under paintings , I have discovered for myself just how diverse painting can be". The use of color and the dynamic brush strokes are a important elements in Mary's work. "I try to implement feeling and movement into my work, the subject matter may or may not be apparent, if there is even one, as much of my work is abstraction. I prefer to work the abstract style, I do not like to be 'contained ' by realism, I want to create something new. I prefer abstract art because it invites the viewer to come to their own conclusions about the artwork, there are no set rules or preconceived ideas that are imposed on the viewer. Painting in the abstract style gives me immeasurable freedom, I may start out with an idea, a theme, a general idea of composition and color palette, but at some point of the painting process, the painting itself will take over the process and dictate what direction it wants to go in, that is always the greatest moment in the process, and the most exciting!  Over the years, Mary's artworks have been displayed at various galleries and shops in New York and North Carolina, including the Everson Museum in Syracuse, N.Y.. In 2016, Mary opened Phthalo Blue Art Gallery in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C..
Mary relocated to Charlotte, N.C., in 2019 to be close to family.

Her current work can be seen at All About Art, on Bald Head Island , N.C. You can also see Mary’s artwork throughout the 2017 Southern Living Idea Home, on Bald Head Island, where the owner/builder commissioned twenty-four permanent artworks for the home, and The Southern Living Inspired 2019 Home, also on Bald Head Island, where there are 14 permanent artworks. Mary's work can also be seen in various locations throughout Charlotte (under 'Events').