A hyperrealist approach and meticulous attention to detail defines the work of German artist Michael Weiss. Michael demonstrates an array of interests and does not limit himself to merely one subject matter or medium. Born into a constantly moving military family Michael, similar to many artists of the Düsseldorf School of Painting and the Hudson River School, finds comfort and identity in representing landscapes he has experienced and lived in. His curiosity and affinity for nature is also present in renditions of natural artifacts reminiscent of the golden age of exploration, Wunderkammern, and scientific illustrations of Maria Sibylla Merian or Ernst Haeckel. In a time of endless reproduction, Michael elevates the objects of his work by devoting countless hours of labor to their unique depiction thus turning the mundane into the extraordinary. Michael’s affinity for detail carries over into his figurative work whilst drawing inspiration from iconic images such as portraits by Memling, greco-roman sculptures and baroque figures suspended in mid-air.
Michael graduated with honors, receiving both his M.Ed. and M.F.A from the Alanus University for Arts and Social Sciences in Bonn, Germany. He has been awarded numerous stipends by the Federal Republic of Germany for his excelling performance in art. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe and New York and he has been shown in galleries, international art fairs including the Art Cologne and Art Karlsruhe, and most recently the Flag Art Foundation. His work has been featured in Hyperrealist Magazine as well as the Paul Clemen Museum in Bonn and is part of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection among others. Michael Weiss lives and works in Brooklyn and is currently continuing his practice at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca.
Can one develop a deeper understanding of things soley by dealing with their surface and appearance? This pseudo-scientific and analytical approach is essential to most of my artwork. A majority of my work consists of landscapes from the area around my parents' current home in Bonn, Germany. I try to create a realistic interpretation of these places in hope of evoking the same sublimity in the viewer that I had experienced. As a soldier's child I grew up as a nomad, constantly moving in a three-year rhythm and dreading the question so often asked: Where are you from? Identity is relative. It is no coincidence that landscape painting flourished in the 19th century within Germany (Düsseldorf School of Painting) and the United States (Hudson River School) at a time when both countries were searching for identity. I too am searching for identity within my surroundings.
Can an object be elevated by devoting countless hours of labour to its unique depiction in a time of endless reproduction and constant availability? Another part of my work consists of watercolor studies of various natural artefacts that cross my path and could possibly have been found in a 16th-18th century Wunderkammer. The scientific illustrations of Maria Sibylla Merian, Ernst Haeckel or Alexander von Humboldt for instance, are of great inspiration to me.
Most recently I have also been exploring the figure, creating contemporary works that seem reminiscent of familiar iconic images from art history such as portraits by Memling, greco-roman sculptures and baroque figures suspended in mid-air.
Landscape. Curiosity. Memory. God is in the detail.