“In experimental film, once you lose the constraints of narrative conventions and the constraints of veracity in documentary, you can then look at all the possibilities that film, the medium in its totality, has to offer.” (2011)
Barbara Sternberg is an experimental filmmaker. She creates layers of image, sound, montage, and repetition. Rhythm is central to her work. Her subjects include time, love, birth, death, the everyday, and the human condition. Women writers and thinkers, such as Gertrude Stein, influence Sternberg's work. She has contributed to Canadian arts and culture throughout her career.
Sternberg moved to New Brunswick in the mid-1970s, where she made her first public film and co-founded the artist-run Struts Gallery in Sackville. She moved back to Toronto in 1984, where she lives and works today. She has taught film at York University, worked at the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, and served on Toronto and Ontario Arts Council juries. In 1989, she helped to organize the International Experimental Film Congress and was a founding member of Pleasure Dome. She continues to promote awareness of and appreciation for experimental film.
Sternberg has gained international success with works such as A Trilogy, 1985 and Through and Through, 1991. Her films have screened at Paris’ Centre George Pompidou, Berlin’s Kino Arsenal, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Her recent work uses more audio-visual techniques, such as single channel video, optical printing, digital media, installation, and performance. She has been a visiting artist at many universities and galleries, including the Université d’Avignon, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a winner of the 2011 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.