12 rooms in In the Studio
Discover the deep, watery prints of North American artist Pat Steir
Printmaking and painting are two distinct but complementary aspects of Steir's work. Many artists have used printmaking as a means to replicate a painted image. However, Steir makes prints because she feels that it gives her 'a perfect way to think'. She sees every print as unique because each one is handmade.
Waves and waterfalls feature prominently in both Steir's painting and printmaking. The printing techniques she uses allow her to build up depth on the artwork surface, leading to a perception of what she has called 'deep watery space'.
She also uses water themes to explore her relation to both western and eastern traditions of art history. She is known for translating images by other artists into new works, rendering them in different styles or presenting them alongside each other. This enables her to draw out aspects of the work that interest her as well as to create something new in the process of translation.
For many artists, printmaking takes place outside their own studio. They work at specialist print workshops, often in collaboration with skilled technicians. Although Steir's painting studio was in New York, she made many of her print works at Crown Point Press in San Francisco. In the 1980s she also spent time in Japan, learning to make woodcut prints, where the image is carved into a block of wood.
Pat Steir, Long Vertical Falls #1 1991
Steir is an American artist who works in New York. She has made a number of paintings and prints on the theme of waterfalls. In the paintings, Steir applies a brush loaded with paint to the top of the painting and allows gravity to determine the run of paint. She employs gravity in a similar way in the prints. They engage not only with the gestural tradition of Abstract Expressionism and Jackson Pollock's method of dripping and pouring paint, but also with Minimalism and Chinese ink landscapes. While on the one hand they evoke abstracted images of waterfalls, they also suggest notions of mourning and veiling.
Gallery label, September 2004
artworks in Pat Steir