Cole Sternberg: to join the larger raindrop of the ocean

Yeo Workshop is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Cole Sternberg, to join the larger raindrop of the ocean, which also marks the artist’s solo debut in Asia. A culmination of over five years of environmental exploration around large bodies of water, chiefly the Pacific Ocean, the exhibition comprises 11 new paintings and a feature length film made in 2018.

The title, to join the larger raindrop of the ocean, alludes to the piercings marked on several paintings in the show – a feature that is novel to Sternberg’s paintings. They form visual references to ripples of the ocean and fractures of light, gesturing at the destructive and regenerative forces of nature that Sternberg has allowed to intervene and determine the works. These canvases have been exposed to winds, storms and dragged in large bodies of water, simultaneously composed and redacted by earth. The result is sublime non-human, yet familiar patterns that demonstrate earth’s energetic movements and utter quietude: from the darkness of the deep sea to the milkiness of the clouds. Developed between 2019 and 2021, a period defined by solitude for many of us, they bring to bear a sentiment of rejuvenation and perhaps, hope – whether that hope is to the benefit of humankind is yet to be seen.

Events include the screening of his film, are the green fields gone? (2018) which chronicles his journey back in 2015 on the maiden voyage of the Ultra Letizia shipping vessel across the Pacific. The twenty-two days were replete with new discoveries about the environment, his artistic process, his fellow seafarers and himself. For Sternberg, the ocean is the truth – it is the beginning and end of the world. In face of these vast horizons, he contemplates the smallness of humankind and our seemingly innocent joys of living in the moment as opposed to long term consequences of our actions. In 2021, he created a short film Ocean Reveries using select footage from are the green fields gone?, which was a nominee at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival 2022, an annual premier festival spotlighting exceptional non-fiction film in the American West.

Cole Sternberg’s paintings are held in major collections throughout the world, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), the El Segundo Museum of Art (ESMoA), the American University Museum (AUM) and Deutsche Telekom.

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