Mountain in Rain, 2012

color direct gravure printed on Gampi paper chine colle
36 x 44 inches (framed)



“I began looking at Chinese Literati paintings and at Southern Song Dynasty pottery and painting, and I realized that I didn’t have to use the brush, that I could simply pour the paint, that I could use nature to paint a picture of itself by pouring the paint. That gravity would paint my painting with me. I was influenced and inspired by John Cage, his idea of non-intention. Essentially, my whole voyage, from that first painting of a young woman, fighting her way through the paint to now, is a search and an experiment. All of my work is a search and an experiment. I don’t consider anything finished, I think of it as all only a step along the way.”

Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1938, Pat Steir studied art and philosophy at Boston University and received her BFA from the Pratt Institute in 1962. The influence of Conceptual art, French philosophy, and East Asian art and thought moved her to begin creating room-size installations in the mid-1970s. By the late 1980s, back in New York, Steir began to experiment with pouring and flinging layers of thinned paint onto canvas, releasing herself from conscious consideration of imagery and composition and allowing the indexical trace of her process to become the image itself. While her pouring process invites comparisons to Jackson Pollock, rather than laying her canvases on the floor, Steir paints from a ladder and works directly on unstretched canvas tacked to the studio wall. Her painting methods incorporate delimited chance, with a studied and deliberate release of control developed through her study of Japanese and Chinese painting. Intentionally deviating from the gestural flatness of the Abstract Expressionists, Steir instead explores a contemplative condition of unbound perception. In this way, she seeks to both portray and evoke a state of mind: rather than representing the sublimity of a waterfall or seascape, Steir’s paintings become charged spaces of transcendental content.


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