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Barbara Sternberger

County: Whatcom County




SOLA Awards 2020
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Fellowship Awards 2018
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Barbara Sternberger was born in Vancouver, Canada in 1957. She studied painting at the University of California at Irvine, receiving her MFA in 1983. Sternberger’s art career commenced in Southern California, then seamlessly continued in the Pacific Northwest when she and her husband artist, Ed Bereal, moved to Bellingham, WA in 1993.

Sternberger has exhibited both regionally and nationally, and her paintings are included in numerous private and public collections. Her work is deeply influenced by tenets of Ch’an Buddhism and its relationship to painting: essence, truth, spirit resonance and breath. Sternberger does not pre-plan her paintings, instead the content of the painting is revealed as she creates it. The works are self-generating, and gradually evolve, not impacted by the external world of objects, or by the desire to depict a “thing.” Her paintings appear somehow familiar but are inexact. They offer mysterious hints of shared knowledge or experience.

Long-time representation with Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland, OR, presented nine solo shows of Sternberger’s work to date. Her paintings have been the subject of two solo museum exhibitions: at the Museum of Northwest Art and the Whatcom Art Museum. Sternberger’s work has been featured in the U.S. Art in Embassies Program.

A few times a year Sternberger shares her painting philosophy in private workshops conducted from her annex studio. And although she does not hold an adjunct position, Barbara has taught a painting course at Western Washington University every summer for the past twenty-five years.

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Image: Peggy Piacenza, 2024 Fellowship Recipient

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