Wood Block Print (26 of 100)
44.5" x 31.5"
Pat Steir is an influential American painter. Best known for her Waterfall series of splashed, dripping pigment on canvas, her work is influenced by Color Field painting, Abstract Expressionism, and Taoist philosophy. Steir’s eclectic practice is characterized by an interest in aesthetic degradation, wherein she frequently breaks down her large, washy paintings into semblances of itself. "I wanted to destroy images as symbols,” the artist has said. “To make the image a symbol for a symbol. I had to act it out, make the image, and cross it out. No imagery, but at the same time endless imagery. Every nuance of paint texture worked as an image.”
Born in 1938 in Newark, NJ, she received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in New York in 1962 and befriended and studied with many influential Conceptual and Minimalist artists of the day, including Sol Lewitt, Agnes Martin, and Lawrence Weiner.
Following the Hirshhorn’s tradition of inviting artists to respond to its cylindrical architecture Pat Steir drew inspiration from the Museum’s distinctive shape, which for her conjured one of the painter’s most essential tools: the color wheel.
Steir has created thirty large-scale paintings that transform the entire perimeter of the second-floor inner galleries into a vibrant spectrum of color, forming two overlapping but opposing color wheels that encompass visitors, inviting them to walk around the space to explore the cascading nuances of color. Typical of Steir’s decades-long abstract painting practice, these luminescent paintings commingle meticulously placed brushwork with the variable of chance, as Steir brushes and pours multiple layers of paint onto the canvas, allowing the pigments to cascade freely downward.
Pat Steir: Color Wheel Oct 24, 2019–Jan 18, 2021
Interview recorded June, 2019