PAT STEIR (1940-)
Kweilin Dreaming 28 Part A, 1989
Color woodblock print with hand painting
Famed New York painter and printmaker Pat Steir started exhibiting in her early 20s in New York. She maintains “I’ve been famous twice…first as a ‘woman artist’ in the 1970s and now as an artist, period.” Her career demonstrates her desire to communicate her belief that all humans have a desire to express what they feel inside and to make something that may still exist when they are dead. She says, “It’s the desire to say, I was here, I saw, I thought, I felt.” She uses a variety of visual images in the form of symbols and marks to convey that each has intrinsic visual worth apart from any meaning it may carry. She uses color in the subtle gradations of the pink-orange and the blue, and the spaces of the canvas she chooses to leave uncolored to explore the expressive potential of color in her work. She works in series, and her Kweilin drawings are an expression of an interest in Asian art and philosophy generated by extensive travels in China. Using a variety of artistic techniques, her early work depicts a style of abstract expressionism with literal representations in symbolic situations. In the 1980s, Steir’s work included art in art when she explored great works by artists throughout history using self-portraits painted in the manner of a different historical artist. Steir has exhibited in major collections both nationally and internationally, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan and the Tate Gallery, London. A recent installation (2000) at the National Gallery of Art, “Curtain Waterfall,” is one of a series of black and white paintings referred to as paint in action, rather that action painting.