I heard that Abby Rose Maurer, a painter and recent University of Dayton graduate, was working for artist Mike Elsass and painting in Mike’s studio space in the Front Street Warehouse. But when I contacted Abby about a studio visit, I learned that she had a new job at Stivers School for the Arts and was now painting in her Oregon District apartment.
I first learned about Abby a few months ago when she had a solo show at the High Street Gallery. Even before I saw the art, the title of the show, “tylenol + beer” caught my attention.
Then I saw Abby’s art and loved it. My favorite was called “face with a view.” Entering Abby’s living room, I saw that piece – the one on the left below. Abby told me it had just been sold and needed to be reframed.
Abby said reactions to her High Street show were interesting. Many people gave her compliments, and more than half of her pieces sold. But she overheard one artist refer to her work as “the paintings with the scribbles.”
This criticism didn’t seem to bother Abby. No painter and no painting style will ever be loved by everyone.
This painting, also in Abby’s living room, was painted when she was a Yeck Fellow. Each year four Dayton college art students are selected as Yeck Fellows. They teach select high school students in studio art and also develop their own artwork that is displayed at the Dayton Art Institute.
In the dining room, Abby showed me two other types of art she had made. She did the ceramic work a few months ago. The copper plate etchings are new, just printed at UD’s print studio. While we looked at the prints, Abby’s cat rafiki walked across one of them.
Abby then told me that she was looking for a studio. It wasn’t that she couldn’t create art in the apartment. She could make art virtually anywhere. But Abby had decided she needed to keep the art, and the art supplies, safe and separate from her living area.
Walking into her studio in one of the apartment’s bedrooms, I saw that Abby’s easel was set up next to a window with a view. I had read that Abby likes to sit in bars and sketch people, and that she’s taught painting classes in bars. I thought she might like painting next to the window because she could see people walking or driving by as she paints.
Looking around the room, it was obvious that Abby viewed this location as just a temporary studio. She said she already had a lead on studio space near the Oregon District. The painting on the left is of Abby’s father.
As we got to know each other, Abby told me more about the jobs she’s worked, the types of art she’s made, her various studios, and the exhibitions she’s had in the short time since she graduated from college. I couldn’t help but think about how this stage of her life is like the movement of the wavy lines or “scribbles” in her paintings. Abby is moving this way and that as she finds her place in the art world.
For the facebook page Dayton at Work and Play I posted this photo of Abby painting her brother John.