Charles Steckler

Sirens’ Song
12″x24″x4″; mixed media diorama; 2010

Charles Steckler
Niskayuna, New York, USA


I am a bricoleur; collage is my method. My materials are familiar and modest: household detritus, found discards, things too worthless to save, which I salvage and reincarnate. I look for correspondences among these materials on my worktable. Ideas emerge and connections are made during a process of arrangement, synthesis and discovery. My game is to turn this frivolous stuff into expressions of my inner world. With the shadowbox diorama and a makeshift aesthetic, I am in the presence of a form that allows me the greatest expansion of personal expression. My wishes, dreams, fears, my obsessions and dark nights of the soul, crazy thoughts, homages to my artist guides, can find articulation. In the container’s empty interior I can stage private universes: nature habitats, urban vistas in perspective, monuments to historic moments, meteorological displays, replicas, curiosities, peepshows of the sublime and the ridiculous. My goal is to stop time and conjure intimate works that beguile by invoking the poetic spell of childhood.


Charles Steckler is draughtsman, stage designer, and collage and diorama artist. He combines many different means of manipulating materials, such as assemblage, painting, printmaking and photography, to create his artwork.

Steckler has exhibited nationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has designed stage sets for nearly 200 productions. He has been a Yaddo fellow, an associate at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, a resident artist at the Vermont Studio Center, a Prix de Rome finalist and a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome.

He received his B.A. from Queens College in New York and his M.F.A. from Yale University. He is currently the Dwane W. Crichton Professor of Theater and Designer-in-Residence at Union College in Schenectady, New York.


(518) 331-6435
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But have I not cause to weep?
12″x16″x3.5″; mixed media diorama; 2011

Deus ex machina
10″x12″x14″; mixed media diorama; 2006

Le Voyage
13″x32″x4″; mixed media diorama; 2004

The History Lesson
11″x15″x4″; mixed media diorama; 2010