February 4, 2023

Barbara Steinman: Keeping Time

Exposure Photography Festival 2023
Opening Saturday, February 4, 2023
1:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Barbara Steinman will be in attendance for this opening.

TrépanierBaer Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in the 2023 Exposure Photography Festival with three exhibitions: Barbara Steinman: Keeping Time, Geoffrey James: Trees, and Evan Penny: The Venetian Mirror. While distinct in their respective representations, these photographic bodies of work share concerns regarding the poetics of space, time, and memory, and how they are translated and expressed via the genre of photography. All of the works on view are replete in both the visual and philosophical senses, and should not be missed!

For over forty years, Barbara Steinman’s work has consistently given shape to the migration of identities and symbols, as well as the intertwined pathways of time and history, and of individual and collective memory. From her critically acclaimed installations of the 1980s and 1990s, that were often site-specific and multimedia, to her more recent photographic series addressing the echo of time-based forms (the flight of a bird, a sound wave or a magnetic tape), through numerous public commissions, Steinman uses a great variety of media and materials to explore what she once called “layers of impermanence” in ways that are both sensitive and conceptual.

Ji-Yoon Han

Concerning the 26 works in the Keeping Time series of photographs, Barbara Steinman has noted:

It started out as a way to mark time and then became about time itself. From September 2020 through January 2021 while in lockdown in Montréal and fearing there may not be flowers at all in the future, I began making images of flowers in various stages of their life cycles. This was a way to focus.

This selection of photographs is mainly of roses. They have a bittersweet beauty and what the French describe as jolie laide, an unconventional beauty. I set up a makeshift apparatus to control the framing no matter where the flowers fell. Some are arranged, others caught in random movement, some are suspended, others thrown down.

Surrounded by an uneasy and indeterminate black space, these are not flowers for special occasions in specific places. To me, these are not pictures of flowers as much as they are pictures of time.

Barbara Steinman

Complementing these achingly beautiful photographs is the work titled Red Bird: Learning to Fly, 2014, an LED lightbox with hand-blown sandblasted and silk-screened glass panels.


Barbara Steinman began her career in Vancouver as a video artist. At the beginning of the 1980s she was the co-director of artist-run centers Vidéo Véhicule and Powerhouse Gallery in Montréal. She lives and works in Montréal.

Her career includes a significant number of awards, honours, exhibitions, and commissions: in 2022, she received the Paul-Émile Borduas Prize, awarded by the Government of Québec and given to individuals who excel in the field of visual arts; in 2015, she received an honorary doctorate from Concordia University in Montréal; and in 2002, Steinman was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award for her outstanding contribution to the fields of visual and media arts.

During the span of her career, Barbara Steinman has exhibited internationally. Recent solo exhibitions include: Keeping Time, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto, 2021; Diving for Dreams, in situ, Darling Foundry, Montréal, 2019; Barbara Steinman, MA2 Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, 2015; and Un Calme trompeur, Galerie Françoise Paviot, Paris, France, 2014 , to name a few.

Public art commissions include: Breathing Space, Canadian embassy in Moscow, 2012; Rivière, Canadian embassy in Berlin, 2005; and Leaf Garden: The Opera Place Park,  Toronto, 2005.

Barbara Steinman’s work can be found in many prominent private and public collections around the world including the National Gallery of Canada, the  Art Gallery of Ontario, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Fonds national d’art contemporain (FNAC), Paris, Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris, The Jewish Museum, New York,  and the Seoul Metropolitan Museum, Seoul, Korea.

Image Credit:


Keeping Time No. 37, 2021
Chromogenic print on Caslon Photographique rag paper
Ed. of 5  / 19” x 15”