Carla Steiger Artist Statement “I am interested in creating small dreamlike worlds in every image. From my collection of ephemera, paintings, old photographs, small objects, and treasures gleaned from nature, I assemble small tableaux that are photographed in natural light. Making intuitive connections between objects and images and juggling them in a refined composition brings me joy. Every day is a treasure hunt for the perfect shell or piece of rusty metal that can make the difference in a picture. Credit is due to Walker Evans, whose perfectly composed photographs inspired me. I had the good fortune of working closely with him during a Winter Term at Oberlin College. Although I came of age as an artist during the period of Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism has influenced me the most. Renee Magritte and Joseph Cornell are my favorite artists from that movement. While I use cropping and color saturation editing tools, there is little computer generated reconfiguring of the photograph. Instead the surrealistic qualities are conjured by a practiced use of very sharp scissors, colored pencils, and Sharpie markers. My husband, Mark, has fondly dubbed me, “the cutting edge of low-tech.” While there are many influences in my work, each piece is labeled “untitled” because my goal is for viewers to bring their associations to each piece. I want to challenge people to create their own narratives and understand the pieces in their own way.”
Prior to teaching, she worked for a year at the Pine Bluff Commercial in Arkansas where she served as a journalist and a photographer. She later wrote humor columns for a suburban newspaper chain while living in Boston and began a jewelry business there, as well.
Her photographic work has been featured in major exhibitions such as Contemporary Photographers VIII at the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY (1981), and The New Color Photography at the International Center for Photography, New York, NY (1981), which was accompanied by the book of the same title from Abbeville Press.
Her photographs are included in the permanent collections of the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, NY, The International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Rochester, NY, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul.