| At the beginning of Sternheim’s artistic work the focus of interest was dominated by the mystic aura of - at least in terms of earth-history - „young“, archaic landscapes like those of Iceland, which were chosen and looked up for the purpose of stocktaking and documentation for later pictorial conversion. The uncanny and unique tracks-leaving power of earthforming forces, like lava stream, bubbling mud and hot springs of sulfur and geysers thus coin the images of the years between 1980 and 1986. |
Yet in these paintings the artist’s attention is increasingly focused on ORIGINS, the quality of TIME and its three dimensions - past, present and future.
Mysterious SIGNS, which contain a factor of IRRITATION, move into the focal point of representation. This moment of irritation is emphasized at the same time by the way its appearance - frequently defined by glowing light - is linking aspects, which must be identified as originated in the past in an ambivalent way to others, which can be regarded as future-oriented or future-taken as well.
The IRRITATION, which develops that way attempting to associate these signs and symbols, is absolutely intended and is strengthened by consciously contrasting archaic relics, traces and totemlike figurations with details obviously taken from the present, like the specific shining of light which calls to mind the gleaming of ionized gas of cathode radiation during some experimental arrangement of recent physics.
This consciously produced polarization between the past, the present and perhaps the future finds its formal correspondence in almost photo-realistically executed items contrasting details apparently developed coincidentally.
Various traces of painting-action, scratching-traces and calligraphic parts of lines, together with clearly defined, realistic items create a platform, on which „realism“ struggles with „abstraction“, the real with the unreal, the old with the new, photographic sharpness with unsharpness e.g. for the sake of „BALANCE“.
Starting from ca.1990 the iconographic fundus is extended by perception-details taken from an ocean of symbols surrounding us, not yet interceding the creative process tremendously, but nevertheless serving as optical glossary-word-givers.
Led to a new, changed field of reference, these symbols fulfill the function of archaeological findings of an culture-historical epoch, which is not defined temporally.
Now more and more the works are conceived as metaphorical memorials against the load of optical garbage, which dominates our visual field of perception, memorials against the aesthetic imperialism of meaningless video-clips, which - in their omnipresence - are leading to an increasing loss of speech.
Mythic and Mysterious, Archaic and Sketched, which point out atavistic objects and actions, refer to the very ancient and call forth remembrance of historic cultures, which disappeared a long time ago, above and beyond all, yet leaving open questions about its biomorphic or technomorphic „origin“, about its reference to the present and about the possible visionary view of the future - is adressed to those people, who - against the demands of time - take much of this time to unriddle the substantial contents of magic images.
The spectrum of applied techniques leads from water-color on mould-made paper and cardboards over rare attempts in old-masterly resin oil glaze-technique on most diverse image carriers to acrylic painting on cardboard, wood and canvas, combined with minimum application of Airbrush, which finally offered all options for the conversion of imagination to image in an ideal way.