Sternberg is a traditional figurative painter who believes in the redemptive power of love, and uses beauty as a metaphor of love. Her textures are luscious and illusions of depth are very convincing. Her current series could be called Maximalism, full of patterns, details and colors.
The attraction to Central Asia came through Mughal art. I found Gulistan Dance Company in Los Angeles, which specializes in dances of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. I attended their performances and persisted in developing a relationship with them for five years, until they finally agreed to model for me for one day. I was able to photograph them in twelve vignettes, providing the source material for this series.
I plunged in, with the goal of making beautiful, color-rich compositions, but after completing a few of them, I saw the emotional themes which unite them. Foremost, it's the value of women's friendships. This is being documented in psychology, that women's friendships uphold and strengthen them. Secondly, there are beautiful clothes. Both of my parents, and my father's parents before him, worked in fashion, so this is an interest which comes to me, not only culturally, but genetically. Thirdly is the importance of patterns, as a metaphor for stability. When I moved to a new country, I prayed to become established with healthy patterns in my new life. Finally, I want to glorify the strength and beauty of Central Asian women.
A traditional Tajik wedding dance, performed by women, for women only. Oil on canvas 30" x 40".
An ancient, traditional dance of springtime. OIl on Canvas 3" x 40".
The topchan is a seating/eating platform by day, a bed by night. Every meal begins and ends with chai/tea and bread. The hostess pours the tea back and forth three times, to cool it comfortably for her guest. Oil on canvas 30" x 40"
Two friends improvise lively rhythms as summer ends pomegranates ripen. Oil on canvas 30" x 40"
No Western woman can imagine the devastation of a Muslim woman who loses her husband. Besides the emotional blow, there is no possibility for her to earn a living in many Middle Eastern countries. These women are refugees in Turkey, who fled Syria in spring of 2012. I painted them in sad, grayed colors, relevant to the sad and hopeless situation they are in.
It started with a neighbor's son, extremely talented and intelligent. After dressing him in something resembling Renaissance clothing and completing his portrait, I searched for others like him. My parameters were: no one older than 19, a variety of nationalities, a variety of instruments, and very talented in and dedicated to their music. There are a total of 14 paintings in this series. I realized that their seriousness is a metaphor for my approach to painting: I'm very dedicated to beauty and good craftsmanship. These are not just kids who take music lessons, and I'm not an artist who is fooling around.
Most of these paintings have been juried into national shows in the US, but they were first exhibited together at the Jerusalem Theatre in 2011.
Patrick was 15 when he played on contra bass for this painting.
Isaac was 16 when he played bass trombone in this picture.
Lily, aged 15, plays a miniature Stradivarius cello.
At 16, Dan was my first subject in this series.
Patricia, aged 16, plays French Horn. The reflection shows that she's not really on stage, but is outdoors at sunset.
Shannon, aged 16, plays most wind instruments
Jonothan, aged 15, in the zone, on trap drums
Margeaux, aged 14, small but mighty on trumpet.