Michaela Steiger has always had an interest in art, she visited many exhibitions, was enthusiastic about the works of the Neue Wilden, Georg Baselitz and the great American portrait painter Alice Neel. As a full-time job, however, she has moved in a different direction. Born in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, she went to the high school in Munich and then in the mid-1980s in the United States. There she studied acting in New York, but also attended courses in drawing and nude painting at the art school Art Students League.
As an actress, she is successfully in the limelight, also in film and television, but mainly in the theater, including at the Schaubühne Berlin, the theaters in Dusseldorf, Zurich and Hamburg, as well as the Munich Kammerspiele or the Residenztheater Munich.
This work with and among people, the constant presence on stage, the playing of a role, is a contemplative contrast to the field of painting. As in the case of acting, here too the focus is on the human being, mainly in the form of portraits and also of family pictures, of which no one is here today.
The portraits show very different people: acquaintances and friends of the artist, but also strangers. The initial spark is usually a spontaneous moment, a certain look, a mood that Michaela Steiger first captures photographically. At a later stage, she then goes through the photos, looking for stories in the faces and paints, where they are particularly appealing to the gaze of man. Just as important as the spark that leaps out of it is her unbridled desire for color. For each image, she specifies a color spectrum in advance, within which she then harmoniously interweaves color sounds. However, these colors do not necessarily correspond to the real colors of the photographic original.
If you look around, then you see that as a viewer, it's very close to the person being portrayed and the image sections are often set very densely. And that's exactly what Michaela Steiger is all about, she calls it a "fall in the face" to build a closeness to the person and to study her personality. The snapshot nature of photography, this snapshot and immediacy are also noticeable in painting. In the oil on canvas technique, she works with a very flat, translucent paint application. The brushstroke is clearly visible and captures shape, contours, wrinkles, hair, clothing with a few deliberate strokes. The focus is always on the faces, the background is flat, blurred, is color-coordinated accessory, which dissolves and does not help to locate the characters in a particular place. But that's not important here, because it's not the outdoor spaces, the outer shell, but inner spaces and moods that are in the foreground here.