What is Expanded Abstract Imagery?


“My camera is always at my fingertips. Every day, everywhere I see new opportunities to capture an interesting image to be used in my studio. A smear of color splashed across a textured wall in a back alley, a sparkle of reflections casting a pattern in a windowpane, or frost on a spider web in the morning sun, each offers a visual experience to be interpreted and incorporated in my art.”

“I draw from thousands of images collected over the years, selecting each as a painter might choose colors from a paint pallet. Mixing and matching these images to a particular concept only inspires new ideas. I may produce several dozen versions of an idea before I get the right effect. My files are full of trials and experiments, but only a few have the visual impact I try to achieve in my work. Often I can see a composition in my mind’s eye when I take a photograph. But just as often, the real potential of an image escapes me until I get back into my studio where the ideas blossom into exciting visual concepts. The texture in one photograph, combined with the lighting in another might provide a foundation. From there I experiment with blends and overlays, testing the effects of combining as many as seven different images in various proportions and intensities to create the final composition.”

Expanded Abstract Imagery” is my idea and releases an energy not found in traditional abstract and is unique to Steve Michaels work. What I have done is to categorize my art into different genera’s which include:

Space/Aircraft, Spiritual, Macabre, Aerial, Music/Theatre, Fun, Electric, Mystical, Wild West, Fire/Sparks, Business/Industry, War, Sex, Holidays, Sports, Elements/Weather, Motivation, Death, Technology, Human Involvement & True Abstract.

The lack of conformity to hard-set rules opens a new door to expression. I try to evoke certain emotions in my light paintings, in the hope that the viewer may feel the intensity and discover the image I see and its deeper message. Some of my images are delicate and fun, producing feelings of warm content. Others may be more serious, dark and disturbing. But each composition is sure to carry a strong impact, expressing my feelings in a unique way.”

—Steve Michaels