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Streaming Oil Waterfall Paintings Question the Formal Line

Abstractions on 'the line' materialize as weeping paintings in Pat Steir’s series, 'Waterfall.'

London gallery Lévvy Gory is exhibiting New York artist Pat Steir’s bold oil paintings through January 2017, highlighting the abstract painter’s meditations on line, form, and reality in the material world. First iterations of her Waterfall series date back to 1980.

Pat Steir establishes her abstract voice in the application of paints. Incorporating literal movement into her works, Steir varies the levels of force behind her brushstrokes, percolating her canvases with light to heavy saturation. A 1982 Guggenheim fellow and honorary doctorate recipient from the Pratt Institute, Steir frequently focuses on the relationship between material and image. In her Waterfall series, first started in the 1980s, the artist applies oil paints at a slow pace, alternating the amount of pressure she treats her canvases with. Within the confines of a square frame, the artist mixes conceptual art and Eastern philosophy. The painter’s tableaus range from drippy monochrome to vibrant, simmering warm tones, establishing depth often where the eye would least expect it.

Her abstraction is a challenge to linear elements. In a press release, the artist talks about her play with abstract concepts: “It seems to me, when you put down a line, there is a line. How could that line be abstract? No matter what else it represents it is always still a line.”

See a few images from the gallery show, below:

Vibrating Blue and Red Waterfall, 1993. Oil on canvas, 48 x 48 in

Dragon Tooth Waterfall, 1990. Oil on canvas, 92 x 132 1/2 in

New Graphic Waterfall on Dark Blue Background, 2007. Oil on canvas, 72 x 72

Wind and Water, 1995. Oil on canvas, 108 x 108 in

Waterfall series, installation views

Pat Steir’s solo exhibition, Waterfall, runs until January 28, 2017 at Lévy Gory Gallery in London. To learn more, visit their website, here.

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