Pat Steir at the Hirshhorn

Pat Steir: Color Wheel

24 October 2019 – 07 September 2020

Hirshhorn Museum

Daily, 10:00 AM – 5:30 PM

Pat Steir

Pat Steir was born in 1940 in Newark, New Jersey. She attended the Pratt Institute and the Boston University College of Fine Arts. She was mentored by John Cage and Agnes Martin. Some of her best-known works are the “Waterfall” paintings.

Work Philosophy

Pat Steir considers her work more research than creation. Her paintings embrace the elements of chance and accident. Much of her work involves allowing the paint to run down the canvas. In these cases, she controls the color and the consistency of the paint, as well as the initial brush stroke. However, how the paint falls and dries, and the way it mixes with previous paint on the canvas is left up to chance.
The work thus emphasizes weight and gravity. The lack of a cohesive image is intentional. Pat Steir strives to remove both herself and images as symbols from her work.

Hirshhorn Exhibit

Color Wheel at the Hirshhorn makes use of the museum’s circular structure. The work explores different shades of color in multiple variations, using a tool familiar to all artists The exhibit is also designed to interact with the changing seasons visible from the museum windows.
There are two color wheels in the artwork. The first is the background color of the canvas, and the second is the color stripe painted and allowed to run down the canvas. In most cases, the background color is more than one layer of paint. This means you can see several colors crack and blend together if you look closely. I found walking around the exhibit to be calming and vaguely hypnotizing.

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