*QRB: What is your distance?
CS: My distance is a bit less than twenty meters to sea level; then another eight meters along
QRC: What is your true bearing?
CS: My true bearing is one hundred and sixty degrees to the horizon; not accounting for thirty
QRD: Where are you bound for?
CS: I am bound for a destination that continually changes; depending on the weather, fuel
consumption and the charterer.
QRF: Where are you bound from?
CS: I am bound from an enclosed cabin, from the deck and from the water.
QRJ: How many words have you to send?
CS: I have many words to send in many formats.
QRG: What line do you belong to?
CS: I belong to the curved line of the horizon.
QRH: What is your wavelength?
CS: My wavelength is twelve meters.
Over the course of 22 days, Cole Sternberg braved the open sea aboard a liner ship bound
from the Japanese port of Shin Kasado to Portland, Oregon. The ship carried no cargo, it
merely tested its own endurance on the waters en route to its first shipment load-in.
Sternberg arrived with linen, watercolor, graphite, ink, and a hearty crew of three enlisted to
document the adventure.
On January 30, 2016, MAMA is proud to present Cole Sternberg’s first solo exhibition with
the gallery, the nature of breathing in salt. The body of work in this exhibition was created while
aboard the maiden voyage of the bulk shipping vessel, the Ultra Letizia.
Sternberg led a momentary sailor’s life composed of traversing the grand ship from hull to
port and stern to bow, testing linen and paint to their limits in the unforgiving environmental
conditions of the ocean’s world. A painting methodology of movement, memory, and
observation, like the cogs that pushed the vessel full steam ahead. 1) paint, 2) submerge in
water, and 3) leave the flag to fly in the wind and wait another day to see what remains of the
original sign. This process was knotted within days spent steeped in nervous joy and
disoriented bearings alongside men who spend half their lives at sea.
Sternberg’s body of work from the voyage aboard this massive vessel, the log books of his
endeavor, find final mooring at MAMA Gallery. The paintings that once ebbed and waved
now lay flat, like the horizon line, and are now the landmark of a geometry of perspective.
At sea, what intersects earth and sky? The navigation homeward is calculated through
abstractions, circles, arcs, and angles. These paintings, like the crew of Ultra Letizia, hung on
for dear life, on an adventure over another planet - the Pacific Ocean - propelled by the
promise of the miracles of home.
- International Q Code interview with Cole Sternberg