"Translation Art," refers to expanding the artistic message across different media, including performance to 2D or 3D works and the reverse. It has been a continuous part of Charles Steiner's artistic practice, stemming from the time he spent as a young man working with developmentally disabled children. For a ten month period between college and graduate school, Charles was employed in a Swiss Camphill/Waldorf school/ cloistered religious community for the developmentally disabled as a personal care aide to four adolescent boys (1973-74). Camphill is an international group of schools for the developmentally disabled who follow anthroposophy, the day to day life "translations" of Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). This is the same Rudolph Steiner whose art theories were featured in the 2013 55th Venice Biennale.
This period of time had great effect on Charles, his later work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was some of the first that focused on ways of making American museums accessible to disabled individuals. Rudolph Steiner's ideas of "translation" also became a major theme in his art, both consciously and unconsciously. These featured works demonstrate Charles' use of translation in his art through his career, as he uses it to explore intersections of medium, culture, and people.
Left: Birds & Bison. 2011. Acrylic on canvas. 66 x 56 inches. Right: English Aesthetic Period Plate. Late 19th century. Ceramic. Diameter: 10 inches. Translation: Steiner’s painting translates the design of the plate. Aesthetic Period frequently juxtaposes eastern and western motifs. All Rights Reserved
Left: Stag Skeleton. 1999 & 2012. Acrylic, collage on canvas. 66 x 56 inches. Right: English Aesthetic Period Plate. Late 19th century. Ceramic. Diameter: 7 inches. Translation: Steiner’s painting is a translation of the plate. Stag painted in 1999 and collaged onto another ongoing painting in 2012. All Rights Reserved
Left: Kinen Kaiga or Memorial Painting. 2015. Acrylic, collage on canvas. 32 x 54 inches. Right: Kuniyoshi, Shini-e. (Actor Memorial Portrait). C. 1830’s. Woodblock print on rice paper. 13 ½ x 9 ¼ inches. Provided here as an example of a memorial woodblock print. Translation: Painting honors the artist’s deceased dog by imitating the “form” of a 19th century Japanese memorial woodblock print. All Rights Reserved
Study Copy of Philippe S.’s Letter to his Mother. 2016. Acrylic on canvas. 42 x 66 inches. All Rights Reserved
2015. Handmade ceramic tile by Steiner adhered with Thinset on Hardibacker siding. 4 x 8 feet. © Charles King Steiner Translation: Mosaic installed on exterior garage wall facing garden. Mosaic extends the illusion of plantings where there are none. All Rights Reserved
1981. Stenciled band around inside perimeter of New York City Upper West Side apartment bathroom. Estimated size: 4 bands 12 inches x 8 feet. Translation of pre-existing early 20th century stained glass window. All Rights Reserved
(Left: 2016 and Right 1981) in Northwoods, Wisconsin. Mixed media on metal and plastic sheets on plywood. Left: 4 x 10 feet. Right 4 x 8 feet. Translation: The left is a visual translation of artist’s daughter’s wedding ceremony while the right is a visual translation of the artist’s own wedding. The works not only translate the ritual of a wedding, but comment on the disproportionate role of aesthetic choices involved in some weddings. All Rights Reserved