Melissa Steckbauer’s new photo-based
collages are the visual remainder following a personal study
in communication and intimate contact, a deviation from the
overt sexuality seen in her paintings. Weaved, fringed, puckered,
and diced Steckbauer diffuses the status and familiarity of
her pictures by manipulating them with naive decoration. Pictures
become images and objects; they leave the scope of family albums
and are updated within a loose semiotics.
Steckbauer’s show in Gallery 2 at Western Exhibitions
opens on Friday, January 27th, 2012 with a free public
reception from 5 to 8pm and will run through March 10, 2012.
Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm and
Why did you get to choose collage as your form of expression?
I was looking hard for a way out of painting. I needed something
that offers a strong range of physical possibilities but that
can also be completely upended by its material structure. I like
that I can manage collage in layers; usually photography holds
all of the juicy content and the collage is a layer of fixed ornamentation
– I want the collage to work harder, to be flatter but better
than the photography. I appreciate the sing-song of their interruption
and realignment and interruption and realignment.
Which relationship does exist between you painting and
They share a material tenderness with a foundation in craft. I
appreciate the need to train my hand in order to learn a skill;
that it’s possible over time to become sincerely precise
and relate to a language of forms with confidence and care. What’s
nice is that you don’t have to be a genius to work in this
way; I think sheer desire and repetition can lead to successful
What are your sources? Do you usually keep an archive of the pictures
you’ll be using in your collages?
In 2006 I worked on a my first B&W analog project and I keep
and recycle those images. In the last two years I’ve been
creating source material with people from my current social circle
and I mix that with old family photos. I am not much for archiving
but what I have, I milk.
How did the digital media influence your artistic production?
Right now that has more to do with printing than producing and
I’m still in research mode. I’m currently a low-fi
maker but I’m flexible. The next time we talk I might be
making holograms of avatars.
What if you end up being uninspired? Any tips or tricks?
The library, the train, metaphysics, meditation, body work, my
bicycle (it’s like flying), green spaces, new people, more
honesty, and better communication. Anything to do with the visual
realm: lately I am interested in minimal patterns in textiles
and elementary geometry. It could just as easily come from the
grids in my tax returns or the walls of the Underground or from
being with someone who rarely cries when they suddenly pull over
the car of the relationship, get out, stretch, aerate, and cry.
and Grow: Melissa Steckbauer”
from The Way of Women website
This is Melissa Steckbauer's first show at
Western Exhibitions. She has had solo shows in Berlin, Paris,
Italy and Japan, been included in group shows in Tokyo, Brussels
and Belgrade and is represented by Van der Stegen Gallery in
Paris. Steckbauer has upcoming shows in 2012 in Rotterdam, Berlin
and Livorno. She studied Art History at Utrecht University and
fine arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received
her BFA. Steckbauer lives and works in Berlin.
opening reception is sponsored in part by the Brenner
Brewing Company, a brewery-in-planning in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin. Founder, Mike Brenner, was recently awarded the title
Master Brewer after completing a rigorous international training
program at the Siebel Institute of Technology, America's oldest
and most respected brewing school, and the Doemens Akademie