Visual Art

PAINTING IN THE SKY: Joe Maurer Continues to Celebrate Nature Through Art

exhibit will open at E.C. library in January

Kelly Carlson |

HEAR THE BUZZ? Joe Maurer's series,
HEAR THE BUZZ? Joe Maurer's series "Too Big To Fly" will be at L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library from Jan.9- Feb. 28. (Submitted Photos)

Joe Maurer is a celebrated artist throughout the Chippewa Valley and beyond: His pavilions at the Forest Street Community Gardens and Beaver Creek Reserve represent much of what his artwork subjects: the connection between a community, individuals, and the local wildlife. 

His new series, titled “Too Big to Fly,” uses the motif of bumble bees who, according to physics, should never be able to take flight because of the size of their body compared to their wings. Working with oils, photographs, and personal collages, Maurer distorts the magic of nature into a wondrous scene, most often inspired by real places.

“I travel to rural places and prairie remnants not many people know about or see,” Maurer said. “It’s not a really hip thing to be a landscape painter, but I don’t care.” 

His abstract paintings detailing prairie landscapes, native species, and familiar scenes around town will be on display in the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library from Jan. 9-Feb. 28. “You could say the paintings are the living, regional voices I wish to amplify: the remaining small farms, clear waters, and the more than human presences that enrich life in the Midwest and beyond,” Maurer explained. 

Joe Maurer
Joe Maurer

“I have stories about my work for sure, but just as interesting is what the viewer brings to the work,” he said. Community members are invited to join at 6pm on Jan. 12 for an artist reception where they can discuss great art. “It’s about enjoyment,” he said.

The multi-layered pieces invite viewers to look outside with a new perspective. Ready to celebrate it all, at 6pm on Jan. 17, Maurer will host a Q&A with Entomologist Arthur Kneeland and Botanist Mark Leach that is open to the public, titled “Pollinators in Your Neighborhood.” 

Explore the outdoors in one of the most intimate ways with Maurer’s work, and reminisce on Wisconsin’s beautiful, blooming springtime. “The show features many early season blooming flowers endemic to Wisconsin, so you might say it will be some wintertime dreaming about spring!” 

To see more work, buy a piece, or learn more about Joe and his art, visit Learn more about library events and shows at