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Pat Steir: Works on Paper


Mar 13, 2004-May 24, 2004

Press Release


 

In these two dozen artist뭩 proof prints, on view at ZONE:Chelsea march 13 April 24, 2004, Pat Steir explores a signature motif, the waterfall that provides a central dynamic element in landscape.  Here highly personal development of this theme places her in an art historical continuum that includes Romanticism and Abstract Expressionism, while resonating with the millennia-long tradition of Asian art.  She goes beyond reference to nature as a subject and locus for negotiations between abstraction and representation to engage the idea of artmaking as process.  The act of creation is a performance, and the work perpetuates the gestural immediacy of the artist뭩 hand.  In a series of celebrated paintings, Steir emphasized the liquid nature of the medium, imitation the process with a sudden brush and swiping to channel the flow of released paint as it dripped down the canvas.  Steir뭩 work as a printmaker displays the same intuitive sensitivity to the way mediums behave.  The spit bite aquatints in this exhibition, executed at the Crown Point Press, testify to the primordial power of the artist뭩 hand, vividly illustrating one of Steir뭩 key beliefs: 뱓he one mark is for me a symbol.  The straight line is the symbol of drawing, all drawing and painting, because it is all just a matter of how the lines are arranged.  The way the lines are arranged in the print series Long Vertical Falls conveys, paradoxically, both vertigo and meditative equilibrium.  Extending the legacy of the Abstract Expressionist drip-and-splatter aesthetic, these compositions also evoke the scroll paintings of Asian art.  Steir뭩 centrally placed motif, running the height of the images, suggests a dramatic sense of scale even grandeur in a relatively intimate space.  There are no mountains, bridges or diminutive scholars depicted; the act of contemplating nature has been re-positioned outside the picture frame.  The movement of the artist뭩 hand, working both with and against the force of gravity, is central to Steir뭩 idiom.  Roughly parallel lines coalesce into a recognizable natural form, yet with their wayward vitality they retain the artist뭩 mark and celebrate the physicality of the materials she uses.


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