Johnnene Maddison

“I was born into a house full of women. The men were at war … I give these women credit for raising me to be strong, open minded, creative and brave.”
– Johnnene Maddison ( news, September 7, 2014)

Johnnene Maddison was born in 1943 in Detroit, Michigan. At the time of her birth, her father, John, was serving overseas in World War Two and, sadly, would not return. When her father left home in 1942, her expectant mother Delphine went to live with her parents, three unmarried sisters, and young brother. Maddison’s early years were thus influenced by the love and support of many family members, including several women – her mother, grandmother, and aunts – to whom she attributes her outgoing personality and lack of fear in facing challenges. She grew up in Royal Oak, Michigan.

Maddison holds a BFA from the Pratt institute, New York City (1965), as well as a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (1971). In the years between her BFA and MFA, she worked in art studios in Detroit and Los Angeles, and spent time in Venice, California. During these years she worked as an interior designer, a window display artist, a keyline and paste-up artist, a poster artist for Hollywood Bell telephone, and even a cake decorator.

Maddison moved to Windsor, Ontario in 1969, after which she taught art to Detroit elementary school students and also worked at the Art Gallery of Windsor. She went on to earn a teaching certificate from Western University, in London, Ontario (1984). Thereafter, she taught in secondary schools, at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, and adult education classes at Western University. Maddison has continued to teach art to adults for over four decades.

Maddison’s work often focuses on women’s place in society, exploring the spectrum of their lives and identity. Her 2004 exhibition, Women, Work and WWII, was showcased in public galleries across Ontario, including Western University’s McIntosh Gallery and Museum London, and was featured in Canadian, American, English and Japanese magazines. This show employed “traditional” women’s handiwork such as sewing, embroidery, and quilting to highlight women’s home front contributions during World War II, representing the many concerns that women were expected to maintain – from their own household and finances, to the economy, and even the provision of military supplies.

Maddison has often served as a mentor for young artists. In addition to volunteer work with the London Artists’ Studio Tour and the Canadian Embroiderers’ Guild, she was a member of the founding committee of the London Arts Council, sitting on their Board of Directors from 1997-2000. She was also a founding member of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C.

Maddison has been recognized for her artwork, including winning first place in juried group exhibitions in Ontario, Michigan, and North Carolina. In 2014, Maddison won the National Visual Arts Advocacy Award from the Canadian Artists’ Representation (CARFAC) in recognition of her contributions to the visual arts community in Canada.

Johnnene Maddison currently lives and works in London, Ontario.

Biography by Luvneet K. Rana



Belanger, Joe. “Artist Johnnene Maddison Received the National Visual Arts Advocate Award on Saturday.” The London Free Press, September 21, 2014. Accessed April 2, 2018.

Becker, Helmut, et al. The River Project : 19 London Artists turn to the Thames.  London, Ontario, 2008.

“London Artist, Johnnene Maddison, Wins National Visual Arts Advocacy Award.” Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC). Accessed April 2, 2018.

Maddison, Johnnene.  Over Here: Women, Work and WW II. London, Ontario,  2004.
Exhibition catalogue.

Maddison, Johnnene. Johnnene Maddison, Biography. Personal Communication,
January 26, 2018.

Maddison, Johnnene. Curriculum vitae. Personal Communication, January 31, 2018.

Morse, Jennifer. “Johnnene Maddison.” Legion: Canada’s Military History Magazine (, September 1, 2007. Accessed April 2, 2018.

Sandals, Leah.  “5 Questions for CARFAC Arts Advocacy Winner Johnnene Maddison.”
Canadian Art (, September 17, 2004. Accessed April 2, 2018.


Belanger, Joe. “Annual London Artists’ Studio Tour mentors young artists.”
The London Free Press, September 21, 2014. Accessed April 2, 2018.

Maddison, Johnnene.  Johnnene Maddison. Accessed April 2, 2018.

See also: Margarethe Vanderpas

CV Courtesy of Johnnene Maddison

Biography Profile Photo Courtesy of Johnnene Maddison


A Driving Force interview conducted by Thomas Van Dewark
M.A. Public History Program, Western University

Eric Simard,  Videographer


McIntosh Gallery, Red Doors (Thumbnail)Click here for information about works by Johnnene Maddison
in McIntosh Gallery’s collection

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Curriculum Vitae
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A Driving Force Interview: Johnnene Maddison