Merrill Steiger is a mid-career artist, living and working in New York City. She has exhibited extensively in both solo and group exhibitions at museums, university galleries, art fairs, and galleries nationwide. Her work is in a number of public, private, and permanent collections.
After three years throwing and glazing pots in the mid-1970’s, Steiger began painting abstract architectural images that reflected a visit to Mexico. Steiger’s fascination with creating in resonance with the art of ancient cultures is a reoccurring theme in her work. She makes a practice of visiting spiritual Power Spots or geographic sites charged with positive energy. Her travels and studies led her to Aboriginal Australia and the indigenous cultures of Africa and Asia, including Cambodia, Vietnam, India, the Himalayas, and Japan, where she lived for three years in the early 1980’s.
Upon her return to New York, Steiger spent ten years producing collages, strongly influenced by origami, the art of paper folding, and the restrained palette of Japan. These collages featured the combining of vividly colored images. This act of making collages has informed her artistic process, becoming an important part of creating the compositions for her paintings.
In 1999, an extended art meditation directed by a teacher of the Kabbalah opened up a new dimension in her work. The intuitive transformation that she experienced led directly to the Zen Dot Energy series (in 2000) that reflects Indian tantric traditions of circles and chakras. Steiger worked on the series, Unseen Universes (2004-8), which features organic forms, landscape imagery, and startling shifts of scale from the microscopic to the cosmic. The strongly hued paintings, rich with dots, lines, colors and moving shapes, suggest a journey through the inner space of one’s own consciousness. In 2009, Steiger began her series, Worlds Collide, which builds on the previous series but now incorporates anthropological references: ancient petroglyphs from the Southwest, Zen rock gardens, statues of the Buddha, mandalas, and other imagery. Worlds Collide concludes with a series within a series, Dreamland, using many of the elements from past and present series including references of Cappadocia, Turkey set against a pointillist sky. Steiger’s series GNH, Gross National Happiness, grew out of extensive traveling to Bhutan and other countries. Completed in 2015, the series reflects the peace and joy of spiritual self-exploration with saturated tones and sacred imagery. Steiger’s current cyberpunk series, Sci-Fi, began in 2016 and breaks from her saturated color palette, opting instead for a monochromatic exploration of light, shadow and space. Sci-Fi features large fantastical scapes, scenes of pioneer space travel and early black and white photography.