American painter, printmaker and conceptual artist. She wanted to become an artist from an early age. She studied graphic art at the Pratt Institute, New York (1956–8), and painting and comparative literature at Boston University (1958–60). Steir noted her teachers Richard Lindner and Phillip Guston and her studies of Voltaire and Leibniz as highly influential on her work. Her wide visual vocabulary stems from her foundation in graphics and illustration at Pratt. In the early 1960s she worked as a freelance bookcover designer, and as art director at publishers Harper & Row, New York (1965–9), simultaneously pursuing her own painting. Her first mature works were exhibited in solo shows at the Graham Gallery and Paley & Lowe, New York (1972). They are characterized by grids, informalized colour or tonal charts and scales, painterly marks, letters, numbers, signs and the rendering of such simple motifs as birds, shells, flowers, mountains and clouds. In the late 1970s Steir was on the board of the feminist magazines Printed Matter and Heresies; she also worked on Semio-Text magazine. Her critically acclaimed series Breughel (A Vanitas of Styles) (1982–4; Berne, Ksthalle) won her recognition through an honorary doctorate in fine art from the Pratt Institute (1991).
Pat Steir (exh. cat., Lyon, Mus. A. Contemp., 1990) [incl. text by Steir]
Pat Steir: Elective Affinities (exh. cat., New York, Robert Miller Gal., 1993) [incl. interview with Steir]
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