ARTIST BIO – Deborah S. Maurer
Deborah S. Maurer is an interdisciplinary artist who was born in 1950 in Chesley, Ontario, lived her adult life in the Toronto area, and for the past three years has made Halifax NS her home.
She has been a practicing artist/sculptor for over 40 years, has won numerous awards and commissions, and has exhibited extensively in Canada, the United States, and Norway.
Deborah knew she was an artist from very early childhood-that has been the one constant in her 60+ years of life. Born in 1950 in rural Chesley, Ontario, the artist spent childhood summers on her grandparents' farm where, in her words, she "spent more time with the animals than with people". She jokingly suggests that "perhaps that's why I visualize and create my character portraits with a sense of distance, as though they are of a different species than myself". “Yet”, she says, “I am intimately connected to them-they are an extension of me”.
In 1960, her father (in the Canadian Army) served in the Republic of the Congo, Africa, with United Nations’ peacekeeping forces. While in Africa her father sent home large parcels containing paintings and sculpture. This sparked a love for African art that can be felt in much of her work even today.
As an interdisciplinary figurative artist, Deborah has always felt compelled to explore image as an expression of her mind’s eye. For many years, she practiced realistic rendering in greyscale; however, while intuitively creating her own work, all rules went out the window.
In addition to her love for African art, Deborah’s work echoes the German Expressionist movement. Her work is alive and dynamic, colourful, and often has a humorous quality that is the artist’s unique personal voice.
She approaches her work with a freedom that allows her to reinterpret as she explores. Deborah finds this organic process exciting and adventurous, and most importantly, natural. She often begins a piece with a pre-conceived notion of how it will develop, but she works very loosely, enabling her to change direction as the work evolves.
Deborah attributes the exuberance in her work to a life-long passion for learning, unrelentingly challenging herself, and the on-going exploration of materials and their expressive qualities. Her hope is to share her passion, excitement, and energy with others through her work. Whether stretching her arms freely over a large canvas, up to her elbows in wet clay, experiencing the smell of melting steel while using the plasma cutter, or watching the solder flow on a tiny coiled river wire marrying it to a textured piece of copper, Deborah finds a way to share the depth of her life experience and her love of making art through her work.
Over the years she has been unrelenting in her pursuit of knowledge and artistic expression. She has gained her own unique style through years of study and bold hands-on experimentation.
Among the legions of artists whose work and lives have indelibly influenced the artist are: William Blake, James Ensor, George Rouault, Edouard Vuillard, Kees VanDongen, Ivan Mestrovic, Marc Chagall, Ivan Albright, Willem De Kooning, Jackson Pollock....You get the point-the list is endless.
My work is about the human condition, and my relationship to it.
Creating art is my way of making sense of life’s chaos. While it may seem intuitive to approach chaos with calm and serenity, the irony is that I approach artistic creation in a storm of energy. Without the act of making art, life would be overwhelming and intolerable for me.
While approaching a new piece, I find myself in a state of explosive creative energy that needs to be focussed before I put brush to canvas or tools to metal. I consider each and every work that I make, regardless of subject matter, to be a self-portrait; that is, my work is an extension of myself and my life experiences.
OCAD (Ontario College of Art and Design), Toronto
University of Toronto (Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
NSCAD University, Halifax NS - Interdisciplinary
NSCCD-NS Centre For Craft and Design- numerous workshops
Open Studio, Toronto - printmaking
Three Schools, Toronto - studied oil painting under Telford Fenton
Humber college - Jewelry
Halliburton School for the Arts - stone carving
ROM wax figurative sculpture