Lois Lambert Gallery, Suite E3
November 10, 2018 - January 5, 2019
The Lois Lambert Gallery presents “In the Woods,” a new body of work by Sarah Steinberg. This is Steinberg’s third exhibit at the gallery, with her oil paintings once again plumbing the depths of home, memory and imagination.
Steinberg explains it simply: “... It concerns a cottage in the woods, on a lake that I used to call home.” That home happens to be a special summer place about three hours north of Toronto, Canada. For Steinberg, that particular landscape is a continual source of inspiration. However, her paintings venture far beyond her memories of any particular place; they epitomize nostalgia as a complex emotion.
Sentimentality is unique to each of us; it is not necessarily based on physical or factual places, or events. Hence, the house in Steinberg’s paintings is a luminous apparition that lingers throughout much of her work. Other pieces boast vibrant trees stretching upwards, with colors both light and dark, as if somehow harboring both joy and secrets. And still other canvases only display the outlines of the house – it’s as if the artist is revealing something that, though no longer there, is still deeply felt; it is her prism.
When painting, Steinberg often surprises herself - because her process is both emotional and intuitive. She will begin with a blank white canvas as well as a desire to capture an ideal. Then, as she paints, her subjects morph from her envisioned ideal into something she had never imagined. Call it intuition, but the results are stunning: Woods bursting with light and color. Ruptured layers of paint revealing secrets underneath. Cloying shadows. Obscuring mists. Forms floating through a forest…
Steinberg acknowledges that the acclaimed abstract expressionist Joan Mitchell as well as Canada’s groundbreaking art collective, The Group of Seven, influence her work on a daily basis. The Group in particular, several of them survivors of World War One, were among the first artists to celebrate the Canadian landscape, lavishly applying oils and colors in unique and glorious ways. Steinberg calls them “inspired.” Not all memories endure, but imagination does. We celebrate; we mourn; we forget. These landscapes are a loving and joyous memorial: an invention allowing the artist, and hopefully the viewer, a look back into the woods.