Biophilia. Curiosity. Memory. Inspired by the Golden Age of Exploration my work oscillates between science and art, between landscape and still life. Combining my admiration for 19th-century landscape painting and artist explorers such as Frederic Edwin Church and Albert Bierstadt with my infatuation for natural history, I create environments that act as living curiosity chambers or Wunderkammern. Though seemingly otherworldly, each piece is in fact rooted in or inspired by existing natural beings, formations, or phenomena. Each work is preceeded and inspired by careful research into various fields of the natural sciences such as botany, ecology, mineralogy, entomology etc. By presenting the familiar in unfamiliar ways, my work allows for a sensation of discovery and inquiry. Harkening to my predecessors Alexander von Humboldt, Maria Sibylla Merian, and Ernst Haeckel, I too seek to reconsile the tension between artistic expression and scientific objectivity, between romanticism and enlightenment. Akin to Jan van Eyck and other Northern Renaissance painters, I pursue the divine within the detail, devoting countless hours to create an object of Andacht in which my technical obsessiveness and meticulous mimesis serve the overall narrative of the piece. I further share the sentiment of da Vinci and Haeckel that the artistic rendition of nature is not an act of mere replication, rather an act of acquiring knowledge of nature. As we ourselves are a part of nature, nature is ultimately depicting itself in an act of self-reflection.
Michael graduated with honors, receiving both his M.Ed. and MFA from Alanus University for Arts and Social Sciences in Bonn, Germany. Later he received an MFA from the New York Academy of Art while living and working in Brooklyn for three years. 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 in galleries, international art fairs as well as the Flag Art Foundation and the Paul Clemen Museum. His work has been featured in Hyperrealist Magazine and is part of the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Collection. Michael Weiss lives and works in Bonn and in addition to his studio practice, is currently an art instructor at Alanus University, the Wallraf-Richartz Museum and the Bundeskunsthalle.
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.