The rich oil paintings by Monika Steiner investigate subtle relationships between perception and material reality. Her paintings are meditative by virtue of color, shape, and multiple layers. Using ideas of surface and dissolving shapes, she creates a metaphor for the cycle of appearances arising out of, then returning to, states of pure potential.
Steiner is a beautiful woman with a refined appearance. At a recent visit to her studio, she was friendly and expressive, lighting up when discussing her work. Currently on exhibition at Micaëla Gallery in San Francisco, Steiner’s work studies contemplative relationships through a detailed visual landscape.
She states, “All forms of matter are containers of information. Particles come in and out of existence, through our intention to observe them, passing from the inchoate into the physical and then back into the realm of potential. Referencing this, my paintings feature emerging and dissolving spheres, Nature’s most efficient shape, floating in empty space. This concept allows an investigation of relationships between perception and material reality. Harmonious background colors interacting with the energetic floating spheres create a balance that it is delicate and powerful, dramatic and serene.”
The ongoing exhibitions of Steiner’s work possess obvious kinship. In a three-woman exhibition at Micaëla Gallery (through October 30), Steiner’s work is a presentation of color and geometric harmonies, while her recent exhibition at ARC Gallery (through September 18) is a distillation of her summer residency in Greece this year. Both exhibitions present artwork conforming to painting formalities and visual agreement.
Born in Switzerland in 1972, Steiner holds various degrees. In 2005, she received her BFA (Magna Cum Laude) in Painting from Sonoma State University. Steiner’s painting was recognized early during her studies as a painter, resulting in professional acceptance of her work in galleries while still a student. She earned recognition for her work as a goldsmith in Interlaken, Switzerland, and was awarded a Teaching Credential from the University of Bern. She resides in Switzerland and the San Francisco Bay Area, where she teaches painting and is devoted to her practice of painting and sculpture. Steiner has shown her work (and enjoyed successful exhibitions) in Switzerland. She is currently represented by galleries in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Santa Fe. -Micaëla Van Zwoll, 09.2010