Sunday, 26 December 2010

Pat Steir

Pat Steir applying a soap ground, San Francisco 1993

Pat Steir: Drawing Out of Line concentrates on five distinct bodies of work: minimal and intimate word/image drawings (1971–74); richly delineated serial investigations of line (1975–76); heroically scaled wave drawings (1983–86); four interrelated series of stunning waterfall drawings (1991);

San Francisco Waterfall I, 1991
acrylic on canvas
84 3/4" x 60"

and a new and dramatic series featuring broad, dark gestural marks that sometimes serve as a backdrop for delicate pastel grids (2007–08). Wall drawings, an ongoing aspect of Steir’s work since 1977, are also represented in a re-creation of Self-Portrait: An Installation, first seen at the New Museum in New York in 1987. In addition to the wall drawing, the exhibition will include some 50 drawings on paper, dramatically varied in scale—from intimate, journal-like sheets to compositions up to 21 feet long—set in relationship to her paintings and prints. The exhibition will encompass 6,000 square feet of gallery space within the Chace Center.

"Her drawings resemble worksheets, filled with grids, diagrams, color charts, crosses, dashes, and crosshatching. They’re self-consciously about process, in other words: the very building blocks of art. But they have none of the dry rigor (blooming into bliss) of Sol LeWitt or Agnes Martin, two artists she clearly revered and whose work reflects similar interests. Instead they mingle minimalist restraint with the emotive effusions and scientific obsessions of more singular artists, from Leonardo da Vinci to Cy Twombly....

"The influence of artists such as LeWitt and Martin is quickly overtaken by Courbet, Hokusai, and the whole Asian tradition of ink painting. Steir dives in, embracing chance and spontaneity, as well as the idea that in painting a waterfall, the drips of ink and oil paint and the spatter of gold powder she uses might all actually be the thing represented, not just imitations of it.


The results of her paintings and prints have been likened to a variety of natural phenomena, waterfalls, sea mists, and stars, for example, that appear to emerge from the richly layered surfaces. Her works also evoke the underlying forces of the world around us and convey a meditative, poetic, and serene mood rather than a direct representation of external phenomena. No matter how one "reads" Pat Steir's work, the dynamic application of pigment and provocative surfaces she has created here have transformed the apse into a contemplative space and a portal into another world, be it the primal forces of nature and the cosmos or an interior world of personal thought and reflection.

Monoprint, with mixed media and additional hand drawing by the artist
Series of 35
Image size: 15 3/4 x 11 inches
Paper size: 25 1/8 x 19 1/8 inches

Dusk. 2001. Oil on canvas. Size h: 84 x w: 84 in / h: 213.4 x w: 213.4 cm

Spring Rain. 2006. Oil on canvas. Size h: 84 x w: 84 in / h: 213.4 x w: 213.4 cm


1940 Born Iris Patricia Sukoneck in Newark, NJ

1956 - 1958 Studied graphic art at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

1958 - 1960 Attended Boston University, Boston, MA

1962 BFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

1966 - 1970 Art Director, Harper & Row Publishing Company, New York, NY

1970 - 1973 Instructor at Parsons School of Design, New York, NY; Princeton

1973 - 1975 Instructor at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

1975 - 1978 Founding board member of Printed Matter, New York, NY

1982 Recipient, Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship

1991 Recipient, Honorary Doctorate of Fine Art, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY

2001 Recipient, Distinguished Alumni Award, Boston University for the Arts

Lives and works in New York, NY and Amsterdam, The Netherlands

No comments: