Press Release

Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Pat Steir. Water and Sand will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with an essay by scholar Anna C. Chave. The exhibition will be on view October 14 through November 26, 2011. There will be an opening reception for the artist Friday, October 14th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
Pat Steir's painting is rich with her "romance" with the history of art, as she puts it, and her friendship with John Cage, who introduced her to the potential for accident and chance in art-making. In a conceptual manner, she pre-establishes the sequence of paint colors that she pours, one at a time, on the canvas. But each time, the pigment chemistry, the paint texture, and the gravity force lead to unforeseen results, creating densely layered meditative spaces within the canvas. If Steir's work, and her signature "waterfall" paintings in particular, draw from the New York School, it is also influenced by a longstanding study of Chinese traditional landscape painting. Her art evokes to the viewer the grandeur of Nature, as if he was standing alone in front of a sacred mountain.
Lately, her work "suggests more subtly vaporous reaches, say, of rainwater streaming down and beading up on walls or windowpanes. At times fairly disparate, non-aqueous effects emerge, too, as of loose threads or netlike webs, craquelure, or even ceramic. In the format that Steir presently favors - with the canvas divided vertically, evenly in two--the qualities of one side of any given painting are effectively set off by the distinct qualities of the adjacent side, such that an engrossing visual dialogue usually ensues, while the seam between the sides can become especially charged," Chave writes. With these twofold paintings, Steir seems to pay homage to Barnett Newman in her own way. The vertical border, by delineating two contrasted areas, enlightens the accidental part of Steir's work, where pigments blend or stand out and paint drips unexpectedly. In her own words: "To make the edge that meets in an unexpected way is like walking a tightrope."
The exhibition gathers seven 60 x 50 and three 72 x 72 inch-canvases dated 2011, named after color shades, like Paynes Grey and Naples Yellow Over Green, and Scheveningens Purple and White Over Gold Over Green, as well as two large Winter Group paintings (2009-2010).
Pat Steir’s work is included in major public collections around the world, including: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; The Museum of Modern Art, NY; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, CA; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NY; The Tate Gallery, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY. Recent solo museum exhibitions were organized at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase College, Purchase, NY; de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA; Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland. In 2010, the Whitney Museum commissioned a vast wall painting by the artist titled Another Nearly Endless Line.

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