Lynn Stern

Lynn Stern


Lynn Stern – Works available on Artsy (link)


Lynn Stern is a New York-based photographer who works with black-and-white film and indirect, natural light.  Increasingly interested in abstraction, Stern began working in her studio in 1985, using a scrim of translucent white or black fabric, either alone to create abstractions, or combined with symbolic objects as a way to ‘de-literalize’ them. She thinks of the backlit scrim as her ‘medium’; it creates a glow of diffuse light that is a constant in all of her work, although the subject matter may vary from series to series.

Stern’s work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in the United States and Europe, and is in public collections such as the Brooklyn Museum of Art; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Museum of fine Arts, Houston; the Portland Art Museum (OR); the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Yale University Art Gallery, among others.

Stern was co-editor of Photographic INsight from 1990-1993. She was the organizer and moderator of a two-evening symposium held at New York University in 1991 titled “Examining Postmodernism: Images/Premises” and in 2016 moderated a discussion titled “Perceptual/Conceptual: How Does Art Nourish Us?” in New York. 

Six monographs of Stern’s work have been published: Skull (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2017); Frozen Mystery: Lynn Stern Photographs 1978-2008 (Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón / Center for Creative Photography: 2009); Veiled Still Lifes (exhibition catalogue, 2006); Animus (Tucson: Nazraeli Press, 2000); Dispossession (New York: Aperture, 1995); and Unveilings (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1988).

The Lynn Stern Archive is located at the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.


Lynn Stern — CV


Born 1942, New York, NY
Lives and works in New York, NY


1964 B.A. Cum Laude, Smith College, Northampton, MA


2019 “Toward the Invisible” 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel, New York

2017 Taka Ishii Gallery, New York, NY
2017 Thomas Gibson Fine Art, London, UK
2012 “Signs Half Seen,” Peter Findlay Gallery, NewYork, NY
2011 “SEEN/UNSEEN,” Artspace at Untitled, OklahomaCity, OK
2009 “Lynn Stern: Photographs 1978-2008,” Museo Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón, Valladolid, Spain
2007 “Veiled Still Lifes,” Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NewYork, NY
2006 “Recent Work,” QCC Art Gallery, Queensborough Community College, NewYork, NY
2002 “Lynn Stern: Photographs from Ten Series,” Staller Center For the Arts, State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY

2001 “Lynn Stern,” Kowasa Gallery, Barcelona, Spain
2001 “Lynn Stern: Work on Paper,” Peter Findlay Gallery, NewYork, NY
2001 “Animus,” Debs&Co., NewYork, NY
1998 “Recent Work,” Barry Friedman Ltd, NewYork, NY
1995 “Whiteness,” Gallery BAI, NewYork, NY
1993 “Lynn Stern: Black and White Photographs,” Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1990 “Recent Works,” SCPGallery, KansasCity, KS
1988 “Unveilings,” Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA


2019 Erin Cluley Gallery, Dallas, Texas
2019 “Color of Light,” Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York
2016 “Sensuous and. Pensive: At Odds and Overlapping,” Booth Gallery, New York, NY
2008 “First Doubt: Optical Confusion in Modern Photography, Selections from the Allan Chasanoff Collection,” Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
2006 “Walpole’s Leap: 8 Modern Garden Perceptions,” Lobby Gallery 499 Park Ave., New York, NY

2005 “Group Show,” Alva Gallery, New London, CT
2002 “What’s New: Recent Photography Acquisitions,” Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 2001 “Group Show,” Peter Findlay Gallery, New York, NY
2000 “S. Sidney Kahn (1937-1999) Mementi Mori,” Yale University Art Gallery, NewHaven, CT
1999 “Group Show,” Alva Gallery, New London, CT
1997 “Group Show,” Peter Findlay Gallery, New York, NY
1992 “Traditions in the American Landscape,” Scott Nichols Gallery, San Francisco, CA
1992 “40 Women Photographers,” Silver Image Gallery, Seattle, WA

1989 “Flowers,” Kathleen Ewing Gallery, Washington, DC
1985 “Invitational,” Provincetown Art Museum, Provincetown, MA
1984 “Space Through A Glass Eye: 8 Photographers,” Central State University, Edmond, OK

1980 “4th Annual Small Works Invitational,”New York, NY



Bloomingdale Properties, New York, NY
Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY
Herbert F. Johnson Museum, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

Christian Keesee Collection, Oklahoma City, OK
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles,
LA Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Museo Fundación Cristóbal Gabarrón, Valladolid, ES

Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR
Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT



Skull (New York: Thames & Hudson, 2017); essay by Donald Kuspit
Frozen Mystery: Lynn Stern Photographs 1978-2008, Exhibition Catalogue (Fundacion Cristobal Gabarron/Center For Creative Photography,

2009), Essays by Donald Kuspit, Britt Salvesen, Lynn Stern, George Stolz.

Veiled Still Lifes, Exhibition Catalogue (New York: Queensborough, Community College, 2006), Essay by Nancy E Green, Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings and Photographs, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

Animus (Tucson: Nazraeli Press, 2000) essay by Donald Kuspit
Dispossession (New York: Aperture, 1995) essay by Donald Kuspit: “Highly Commended Book,” 1995 Ernst Haas AwardsUnveilings (New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1988;) essay by Paul Caponigro



Organizer/Moderator, “Perceptual/Conceptual: How Do We Experience Art?” New York, 2016 Panelists: April Gornik, Donald Kuspit, Irving Sandler, Lynn Stern

Organizer/Moderator, “Examining Postmodernism,” Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 1991 Panelists: Martin S. Bergmann, A.D. Coleman, Todd Gitlin, Max Kozloff, Donald Kuspit, Shelley Rice.



Scholar in Residence, Oklahoma Arts Institute, Oklahoma City, OK, 1991

Categories: Artists


Lynn Stern: Toward the Invisible

Lynn Stern

Toward the Invisible

October 10 – November 9, 2019.


An overview of Lynn Stern’s work, this exhibition features prints from 18 of her 24 series of photographs, tracing the increasing abstraction of her imagery. From the interior spaces of the early Interior Light series in which she thinks of “the architectural planes as vehicles that make the light reverberate,” to the in-progress Mystic Light series, her goal is to “make the light palpable.” Since the mid-80s Stern has been working in the studio with backlit translucent scrims of white or black fabric, sometimes creating pure abstractions of light and shadow, sometimes combining the scrims with objects – most notably skulls, both human and animal. The latter are highly charged, the skulls’ expressiveness made more dramatic by their interaction with the scrim’s gestural folds of light and dark. Since the late 80s Stern has also become increasingly interested in the form of the circle as a fraught symbol that can convey either a sense of oneness and harmony or “the black hole of an endless abyss.” While rigorously formal, Stern’s work is always charged with emotion.


“Lynn Stern: Scrimming the Invisible”, by Cori Hutchinson, Whitehot Magazine November 2019 (link)


3D Walkthrough of Exhibition (link)


Full Press Release: Toward the Invisible (link)



Categories: Exhibitions Past