Janet Sternburg . Photography



About Sternburg



____Janet Sternburg is an artist of photography, a writer of literary books, a maker of theatre and films, an educator, all in the service of a singular vision which is at the forefront of cultural change. Since 1998 when she began taking photographs, her photography has been exhibited in solo gallery shows including New York, Los Angeles, Berlin, Mexico, and Seoul Korea where she received a commission for a full-building installation using projection and multiple monitors. Most recently, in 2018, she has had solo exhibitions at Contrasto Galleria in Milan and at the USC Fisher Museum of Art. Forthcoming in 2019, a retrospective at Bombay Art Society, India.

Publications of her work include the monograph, Overspilling World: The Photographs of Janet Sternburg, published in 2016-17 by Distanz Verlag; also the catalogue LIMBUS, published by USC Fisher Museum of Art. Portfolios of her work have appeared in Aperture (2002), and that same year as cover and portfolio in Art Journal. The catalogue, The Behavior of Light, traveled with her exhibition to Heidelberg, Munich, and Freiberg, under the sponsorship of the American Embassy, Germany.

Her photography, characterized as the work of a visual poet, has been written about extensively, in essays by art historian Pepe Karmel, filmmaker Wim Wenders, cultural critic Joern Jacob Rohwer, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, poets Eric Gudas and Molly Peacock, curator Alexandra von Stosch, author/scholar Jack Miles, and editor/curator Alessandra Mauro, among others.

An acclaimed writer herself, Sternburg’s books include the classic two volumes of The Writer On Her Work, (W.W. Norton, 20th anniversary edition 2001). Two critically praised books followed combining memoir and essay, interweaving family and neuroscience: Phantom Limb: A Meditation on Memory (Univ. of Nebraska, 2002) and White Matter: A Memoir of Family and Medicine (Hawthorne Books, 2016). In Optic Nerve: Photopoems  (Red Hen, 2005), she experimented with inserting images within the body of her poems, continuing her ongoing involvement with word and image. Her play, The Fifth String has been performed in Los Angeles, New York, and Essen.

Other creative and cultural work includes her feature length documentary El Teatro Campesino on the Chicano theatre troupe (1969) for National Educational Television, broadcast on national public television and selected for the New York Film Festival at Lincoln Center. Her Cine Golden Eagle award-winning film about Virginia Woolf, The Moment Whole (1971) prefigured an idea that imbues her photography, in which she continues to explore the layers of time and space that are present in a single moment.

Sternburg lives in Downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She has been the recipient of many grants and artist residencies (among them, The National Endowment for the Humanities and The MacDowell Colony), and was given the honor in 2003, early in her life as a photographer, by The Utne Reader (“A New Lens”) as one of forty international artists and writers who as “with depth, resonance, ideas and insights, challenge us to live more fully.” 

Currently she is finishing a new book, CITY OF SHRINES, images and text of sites in Los Angeles.