Deborah S. Maurer is a versatile Halifax NS (formerly Toronto)-based sculptor/painter/printmaker/book artist who has a particular affinity for mixed media. She combines her love of sculpture, painting, and relief to create colourful, quirky, endearing, character portraits often described as original, delightful, uplifting, and humorous.
Immediately apparent to the viewer is the artist's unsubtle humour. But further familiarity with Deborah's original body of work reveals the mind of an experienced artist who has evolved a mature perspective on life, and her expression of it. Over the decades, she has exhibited widely, won numerous awards and commissions, and has her work in private and corporate collections.
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 I".
Deborah's passion for art was sparked at a very early age (around 5) and has only intensified over time. In 1960 her father (in the Canadian Army served in Congo, Africa with United Nations peacekeeping forces. Out of curiosity about the continent that drew her father away she immersed herself in books on African culture and art, and fell in love with it. The influence can be felt in much of her work even today.
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.
In these Galleries, characters invite the reluctant voyeur into an intimate relationship, wherein the spectator participates in the private world of the subject. The titles themselves often bespeak an intimate world, and contribute to the newly forming relationship between subject and voyeur.
Deborah S. approaches her work in a rather unorthodox way. In the past she often worked from live models or did candid sketches of people going about their day to day activities- she always had a sketchbook, or at least paper and pencils with her to capture interesting subjects.
Over time she has accumulated (and continues to accumulate) a collection of sketchbooks that provide an extensive pool of resources from which she draws inspiration for her work. These books house sketches of people with whom she has secretly connected. It is not unusual for artists to keep sketch books for reference, however, Deborah has an intimate relationship with each of her "characters" in these books- loving, and at the same time exploiting them over and over again in her work.
Each time she connects with a pencil or ink "intimate", she interprets and recreates him/her anew, perhaps in a different medium. She approaches her work with a freedom that allows her to reinterpret as she explores. This organic process she finds exciting and adventurous. True, she often begins a work with a somewhat pre-conceived notion of where she is going with it, but she works very loosely, enabling her to experiment and change direction as the piece evolves. In this way, Deborah S. is able to take inspiration from her 'beloveds' time and time again.
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
Deborah S. Maurer is a versatile figurative artist/sculptor who works in a variety of media: steel/other metals, oil and acrylic, stone, ceramic, and mixed and print media. Her work is dynamic and expressive-patiently executed, but always retaining its loose gestural quality. She particularly loves marrying sculpture with painting media, and relief print with collage. The artist’s work echoes the German Expressionists (who have been her greatest influence), but is alive and dynamic, colorful, and has a humorous quality that is the artist’s own unique personal voice.
Deborah attributes the exuberance in her work to a life-long passion for learning, unrelentingly challenging herself, and the exploration of materials and their expressive qualities.