In the 1980s, after years of painting and printmaking, the artist Pat Steir changed course, and changed American art forever. Rather than painting in controlled brushstrokes, she began dripping, pouring, and splashing paint on canvases. Gravity and nature, and even the paint itself, would create art with her and, in some ways, almost magically on their own. Yet it remained personal, often lyrical, inviting the viewer to create their own connection with what they see.
Steir’s famous “waterfall” paintings will be exhibited at Philadelphia’s Locks Gallery, in a show titled Pat Steir: Snow and Waterfall from March 31 to May 13.
These paintings were influenced by her interest in Chinese painting and Eastern philosophy. But also important to her artistic development were her creative friendships with abstract expressionist Agnes Martin, who told her to create from her heart; and avant-garde composer John Cage, who encouraged her to find beauty in the elements of chance and surprise.
Regarded as among America’s most influential contemporary artists, Steir lives in New York City and has had her paintings exhibited in galleries all over the world. Her art is in the collections of major museums including the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was also commissioned by the Barnes Foundation.