Pat Steir - From the Boat: Comet
American, b.1940
From the Boat: Comet, 2002
Color sugarlift and spitbite aquatints, 20.25 x 54 inches
Edition 9/25
Crown Point Press

Gift in memory of Anneke Overseth by Brad Canale (BGS '81)

Pat Steir was born in 1940, and has been exhibiting her paintings worldwide since the early 1970s. She lives in New York. She has worked at Crown Point Press since 1978 and is an accomplished printmaker. Back in the 1970s, Steir was thinking mainly about signs and symbols, and was close to Minimal and Conceptual artists, though she didn't fit into either category exactly. She developed an iconography that included isolated brushstrokes and other marks, color charts, sometimes words, sometimes images crossed out. Her work was like a chant and evoked stillness. For the past ten years, the stillness has become denser and she has made her marks by flinging, pouring, and dripping paint. Images of waterfalls resulted naturally from this approach, and she has also worked from time to time with images that evoke the night sky. Steir has said that she makes her work with the attitude of a gymnast, “first the meditation, then the leap.” In her art, she has given up chasing the self in favor of something larger.

Steir often begins with imagery linked to other artists, notably from the Modernist Tradition. In From the Boat, a series of four intaglio prints, she appropriates styles reminiscent of Abstract Expressionism and East Asian calligraphy. She then personalizes them and appends titles that suggest overhead views "from the boat." In her paintings and prints, she has been drawn to nature and its processes, particularly water and. Inventively using etching techniques that capitalize on liquid effects, Steir splatters her medium in spontaneous gestures to evoke the poetry of water in action.