May 2 - June 1, 2019

Opening Reception: May 2, 6 - 8 pm
Artist Talk: May 18, 11 am

In Breath, Barbara Sternberger’s new series of abstract paintings visually explore themes of mindfulness and intuition. Her recent works are deeply influenced by Ch’an Buddhism and its tenets of finding essence, truth and spirit resonate in the present moment. 

The artist considers the physicality of the paint to be as vital as the resulting imagery, and to create her marks Sternberger uses a combination of innovative painting applications and techniques. She employs a spatula to scrape through the oils and likens the process to the act of breathing, an energy exchange captured on canvas: breathe in (paint), breathe out (scrape away).

Sternberger began making and using paint bars, dry pigment in a liquid wax binder, in 2012 as an uninterrupted method of applying marks to the canvas. In her Breath series, the engagement becomes even more direct through a hand application of paint that allows for the immediacy, fluidity and directness that she seeks. Sternberger’s intuitive imagery conveys calming kinetic energy and balances color, light and space. Quietly evocative titles like Elemental, Initiate, and Oscillate read like poetic revelations and, like her paintings, communicate the intangible yet intrinsically known.

Barbara Sternberger received her MFA from the University of California at Irvine. She lives in Bellingham, Washington and is a part-time lecturer and painting instructor at Western Washington University. Her recent solo exhibitions include Holding Places at Linda Hodges Gallery (Seattle, 2017), Invisible Presence, Elizabeth Leach Gallery (Portland, 2016), Inner Passage at Linda Hodges Gallery (Seattle, 2015), Confluence at Elizabeth Leach Gallery (Portland, 2013), Musing at Elizabeth Leach Gallery (Portland, 2010) and Evidence (Portland, 2008) at Elizabeth Leach Gallery. Her work has been featured in group exhibitions including Curator's Perspective (Whatcom Museum of Art, 2015), Elles (Seattle Art Museum Gallery, 2012) and Show of Hands: Northwest Women Artists 1880 - 2010 (Whatcom Museum of Art, 2010).