July 21-August 11

There are always two sides to every story and Neil Sternberg has used this old saying for his upcoming solo exhibition.  

“The title of the show is indicative of the two sides of my show. My work is almost always a reflection of Muskoka where I live and this is depicted in the calm portion of the show,” enlightens Neil.  

“This current show, however, is the first time I have created works that comment on some of the larger issues that dominate the modern world. Whether it’s my maturation as a person, my life as a parent or as an artist simply confounded by some of the dark turns that humanity has taken in recent times, I have felt an increasing pressure on myself to comment on these things in my art. War, the police state and indigenous issues are some of the issues that reflect the chaos part of my show,”  

Neil started painting when he wanted to do something creative with his life. “It’s a career that never knows a retirement age and which, if done correctly, makes you only as good as your last painting,” states Neil who has been painting for the past fifteen years. “I first picked up a paint brush in earnest and while the novelty does wear out from time to time, the desire and dutifulness to work at my craft every day is a consistent low level hum through my artistic brain.”  

As a young artist, Neil took many drawing courses but has taught himself how to paint with oils simply by looking, seeing and always being consumed with the very idea of a painting – a never ending drive to understand what makes a great painting and how it got done.  

With practice and experience, Neil’s work has evolved in terms of the scope of the subject matter and the attention to detail when making a painting. “An understanding of colour and a firm grasp of technique are just some of the main things that have evolved with time and diligence,” reveals Neil who also plays a number of musical instruments such as the bass, piano, guitar and drums during breaks from painting.  

When he works, many things encourage Neil. “I’m inspired by the medium of the oil paint itself, other artists who were true to themselves that I have absorbed with an obsession and then just the ordinary world around me.”  

As an artist, Neil enjoys trying out new subject matter and breaking his own self-imposed rules. “The challenge is always trying to realize an idea and communicate it to the viewer as succinctly as possible. My goal is to be a singular artist as pretentious as that sounds. To have many influences is of course necessary but how you absorb those influences in your art in an inventive way is the ultimate challenge. I like my art because I make it a rule not to retread past ideas done by other artists. I think it is wise for all artists, when enamored with another artist, to spend time to think more about the spirit of the artist’s work rather than purely emulating what is mostly the clichés of the artist’s work. I am more than prepared to fail at my endeavors if it is in pursuit of something singular and not repeating worn out ideas.”

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Muskoka Arts & Crafts Inc. is located in the District Municipality of  Muskoka, Ontario, Canada.