Gordon Mahy (1932-1998) was born in Buckhorn, Kentucky. His parents were missionaries and he spent 15 years in in the Philippines and China before and after World War II. He attended Davidson College and Washington University in St. Louis, studying literature before he was drafted for the Korean War. After Mahy returned he was able to go to an art school between his junior and senior years in college, which cemented his decision against going into medicine. In 1957 he attended the Art Students League in New York for two years, where he took up the study of painting. He traveled to Kyoto, Japan on a Fulbright Scholarship. Mahy's work is influenced by Oriental culture, and he says, "I admire Japanese technical craftsmanship, and the way it is expressed in the elegant designs and sumptuous surfaces of Japanese ceramics, fabrics, lacquer ware, inlay and ivory. I also admire Japanese architecture and gardens and the integration of these into an aesthetic, philosophic and spiritual unity." Mahy moved to North Carolina in 1968 and began teaching at Mars Hill College. He has been in around 40 solo exhibitions and well over 60 group exhibitions, including shows at the Asheville Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of Art, the National Academy of Design, and the Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art. His works are in the permanent collection of the North Carolina Museum of Art, Columbia University, and the Carroll Reese Museum, Johnson City, Tennessee.