In the 1980s Steir developed a technique that involved applying paint exclusively by dripping and flinging it onto the canvas. Despite the freedom of execution and the large areas of canvas to be addressed, Steir exercises expert control over her methods, which she developed in part through in-depth study of Japanese and Chinese painting. The pouring process also evokes comparison with the work of Jackson Pollock—but rather than painting on the floor, Steir works from a ladder on unstretched canvas tacked to the wall, pouring and flinging paint, water, or solvent from oversaturated brushes and allowing the fluid media to cascade down the length of the support. As she has explained, "the paint itself makes the picture…. Gravity makes the image."
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Title:Sixteen Waterfalls of Dreams, Memories, and Sentiment
Artist:Pat Steir (American, born Newark, New Jersey, 1940)
Medium:Oil on canvas
Dimensions:78 1/2 in. × 12 ft. 7 1/8 in. (199.4 × 383.9 cm)
Credit Line:Kathryn E. Hurd Fund, by exchange, 2009
New York. Robert Miller Gallery. "Pat Steir: Waterfalls," September 11–October 6, 1990, unnumbered cat.
Sarasota, Fla. Selby Gallery at Ringling School of Art & Design. "Dazzling Water, Dazzling Light," January 21–February 26, 2000, no. 14 (lent by Joost Elffers).
Youngstown, Oh. Butler Institute of American Art. "Dazzling Water, Dazzling Light," March 27–April 30, 2000, no. 14.
Des Moines Art Center. "Dazzling Water, Dazzling Light," June 3–August 6, 2000, no. 14.
New London. Lyman Allyn Museum of Art at Connecticut College. "Dazzling Water, Dazzling Light," August 28–October 16, 2000, no. 14.
Boston University Art Gallery. "Looking East: Brice Marden, Michael Mazur, Pat Steir," January 18–February 24, 2002, no. 3 (lent by the artist).
St. Petersburg, Fla. Salvador Dalí Museum. "The Shape of Dreams," November 25, 2022–April 30, 2023, unnumbered cat. (fig. 40).
John Yau. Dazzling Water, Dazzling Light. Exh. cat., Sarasota, Fla. Seattle, 2000, p. 63, colorpl. 14.
John Stomberg. Looking East: Brice Marden, Michael Mazur, Pat Steir. Exh. cat., Boston University Art Gallery. Seattle, 2002, pp. 33–34, 99, no. 3, colorpl. 3.
Catherine L. Blais in John Stomberg. Looking East: Brice Marden, Michael Mazur, Pat Steir. Exh. cat., Boston University Art Gallery. Seattle, 2002, p. 97.
Susan Emerling. "Looking After Their Own." Art News 104 (May 2005), pp. 128–29, ill. (color), states that this work was the first in a series of paintings composed of thrown paint; quotes the artist's statement: "It was the first in the waterfall series. I struggled toward it, and suddenly it was there in my studio. It was a real breakthrough. So I kept it.".
Marla Prather in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2008–2010." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 68 (Fall 2010), p. 79, ill. (color).
Pat Steir. "Kongo Power Figure." The Artist Project: What Artists See When They Look at Art. Ed. Chris Noey. New York, 2017, ill. p. 216 (color).
Hank Hine. The Shape of Dreams: Five Centuries of Painted Dreams from the Divine, Mythology & the Mind. Exh. cat., Dalí Museum. St. Petersburg, Fla., 2022, pp. 23–24, 138–39, 143, fig. 40 and ill. frontispiece (color, overall).
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