Maurice “Moe” Spector grew up on working farms in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Roaming the fields and pastures on the farms made an indelible impression on him and his work. He also grew up fishing and hunting along the Eastern Shore marshlands, barrier islands and tidal bay creeks. These childhood experiences would foreshadow a life of observation and artistic expression, and act as a touchstone for so much of what Spector creates.
Spector went to the University of Miami where the painter, Eugene Massin, became his mentor. Spector recently commented, “Massin did not really teach me how to draw but more to observe and analyze and how to approach an artistic challenge. Even today, when I stare at a hundred year-old cherry stump and think about how and what I will make of it, I still frame my approach based on what Massin taught me.”
After serving in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam years, Spector became a professional photographer in New York and Philadelphia, working on major advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. Bristling under the confines of the corporate world, Spector chose instead to photograph landscapes and portraits, working construction to pay the bills. He managed a thoroughbred horse farm, worked as a prop master for film crews in Miami, and as a master furniture craftsman, all the while sketching and working with his hands. Spector reminisced; “I used to create hundreds of drawings before I started to construct a piece of furniture. That discipline has made me a better sculptor.”
For the last 20 years, he has lived on a former dairy farm on a bayside creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Working in an open-faced barn, he carves his sculptures from large pieces of found wood, blocks of marble and limestone. When winter comes, he retreats to his studio drafting board, planning new 3-dimensional pieces and producing drawings in pen and ink and conte pencil. Nothing is more pleasurable to Spector than to take his boat out to one of the uninhabited barrier islands along the seaside and to beach comb for the shells and the whalebones that inspire him. Spector’s genius lies in creating deceptively simple forms that convey the essence of the subject matter – from the large-scale “Broken Whelk” to the small limestone “Young Bird.” His work seduces you slowly and quietly, harnessing the unique texture and surface value to each material he uses.