Taipei–For our inaugural booth at Taipei Dangdai, Lévy Gorvy is honoured to present a new body of works by Pat Steir: her 'Taipei paintings'. Composed with brilliant hues and practiced gestures, they represent the latest development in her celebrated 'Waterfalls' series. To create these accomplished abstractions, Steir pours, throws, and brushes thinned paint onto upright canvases, allowing gravity, time, and the fluidity of her medium to determine the final image-an approach which embodies the dialectics of intuition and chance that have defined her oeuvre for six decades. Completed after two major suites of large-scale, rigorously developed canvases at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, the exuberantly expressive Taipei series represents a creative liberation of form, technique, and colour for Steir.
Among the few women to achieve prominence in the 1970s New York art world, Steir initially made her mark with paintings that pair iconic images and suggestive texts, posing questions about the nature of representation. In the mid-1980s she adopted a looser, more performative approach, forging a powerful response to Abstract Expressionism, to John Cage's strategies of composition by chance, and to her longstanding interest in East Asian art and philosophy. Through the forceful incorporation of gestures, her 'Waterfalls' series establish a multifaceted relationship with the represented object by indexing the material traces of her performative acts. These immersive canvases present a non-representational but recognisably figurative and architectonic space expressed through organically dissolving and emerging forms.
In 2019, the Barnes Foundation exhibited Silent Secret Waterfalls, a group of eleven monumental black-and-white paintings by Steir–the first artist the institution has commissioned since Henri Matisse in 1932. From 2019 through 2020, the Hirshhorn hosts Color Wheel, her largest work to date: a suite of thirty paintings that together encompass the whole chromatic spectrum. Stretching over 120 meters, the ensemble occupies the entirety of the institution's expansive inner-circle gallery, immersing the viewer in an environment of shifting hues.
Immediately after completing Color Wheel, Steir embarked on the Taipei series, applying to them her experience gained by composing intently with colour in the prior series, while being liberated to approach each canvas individually. Developed at amore intimate scale and with a sense of freedom, they are joyous in their colour and expression. As the artist declared: 'These paintings make my next step possible.'
Steir approaches the creation of each work of art as a physical and spiritual act, her process serving, paradoxically, as a means of surrendering control, an approach to artmaking that is deeply indebted to her longstanding relationship with Eastern thought. Her signature pouring technique discloses a Zen-like emptiness that simultaneously evokes a sensuous fullness. Elegantly suggesting the movement of wind and water, her emphasis on expressive spontaneity is influenced in part by Literati traditions of the Tang (618–907), Song (960–1279), and Ming (1368–1644) dynasties. Indeed, these paintings are sites where myriad artistic philosophies that emerged across multiple centuries and continents converge into a body of work that cannot be wholly incorporated into any paradigm beyond those established by the artist herself. Extending her exploration of the relationship between intention and coincidence, Steir's new canvases speak to both Eastern and Western traditions while opening new possibilities for painting in the present day.
In response to seeing Steir's new paintings, Lévy Gorvy Taiwan Representative Serena Chien stated: 'As someone born and raised in Taiwan, I feel very honoured and excited to find out the connection between Pat's works and Taiwan. The vivid colour and free spirit of her new series truly reflects our character: a small island that is full of vitality, a society of open-minded people.'
About the Artist
Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1938, Pat Steir lives and works in New York. She has exhibited in myriad museums and other venues worldwide for six decades. In 2019, in addition to major exhibitions at the Barnes Foundation and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, she created the backdrop for the centennial celebration of choreographer Merce Cunningham, held in London, New York, and Los Angeles. She is the subject of Pat Steir: Artist (2019), a feature documentary directed by Veronica Gonzalez Peña.
Her recent retrospective, Drawing Out of Line, travelled from the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, to the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York, in 2010. Other important exhibitions include: the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (1994); the Centre National d'art Contemporain de Grenoble (1992); and the Musée d'art Contemporain, Lyon (1990). In 1988, Pat Steir Prints 1976-1988 opened at the Cabinet des Estampes, Musée d'art et d'histoire, Geneva, and travelled to Tate Gallery, London. In 1984, the Brooklyn Museum organised Pat Steir: The Brueghel Series (A Vanitas of Style), which travelled to the Dallas Museum of Art; Centre d'art contemporain, Palais Wilson, Geneva; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Des Moines Art Center; and the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, among other venues.
Steir's paintings, drawings, prints, and installations reside in the permanent collections of major international museums including: Denver Art Museum; Fondation Cartier, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Louvre, Paris; Solomon R.Guggenheim Museum, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art,New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Tate Gallery, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center,
Hall 1 (4th Floor)
No. 1, Jingmao 2nd Road,
Nangang District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Opening Dates & Hours
VIP Preview (invitation only)
Thursday 16 January, 2pm–5pm
(by invitation or advance ticket)
Thursday 16 January, 5pm–9pm
Friday 17 January, 11am–6pm
Saturday 18 January, 11am–6pm
Sunday 19 January, 11am–5:30pm