National Academy Museum opens Pat Steir. Blue River

Pat Steir has created three new paintings to be exhibited at the National Academy Museum. On view from May 23 through September 8, 2013, the artist’s most recent works—Orange, Green, andYellow, which measure 132 x 50 inches each—from her Waterfall series and shown with the artist’s largest canvas to date, Blue River, (135 3⁄4 x 445 3⁄4 inches).

Steir’s monumental paintings depict more than simply the fluidity of water and paint. They also suggest a metaphysical place in which psychological states of being ebb and flow. On the subject of water, Steir has stated: “I paint water often, but don’t depict it; it is the paint itself that flows.”

For the artist, these paintings are explorations of perception, mood, and a contemplative space. They are immense, durational, and experiential not only through their sheer size, but also through their inherent gestural and evocative qualities. Ultimately, they envelop the viewer and allow us to become lost in an ethereal, aqueous world.

Steir has engaged with the subject of water since it first began to appear in her paintings of the early 1970s. By the mid-1980s she had created a series of Wave paintings that relied on a circular gesture of the brush to capture the essence of water in motion. Near the end of that decade, Steir adopted a different approach: creating works by pouring, flinging, and dripping paint onto the canvas, embracing the fluidity of the medium. By incorporating chance and using gravity in the process, she essentially allowed the paintings to make themselves. The result was a body of work that became Steir’s signature Waterfall paintings.

Steir was born in Newark, NJ in 1940 and received her BFA from Pratt Institute in 1962. Steir’s works are 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.

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