A Nearly Endless Line #3: PAT STEIR

  • Introduction

    On Friday, 18th of November 2011, from 7 to 9 pm, Galerie Thomas Schulte will be opening a large site-specific wall installation by Pat Steir, the first by the artist at the gallery in eighteen years.


    With her concept-oriented painting, Pat Steir has been a fixture in the New York art world for decades. Her work has been honored with numerous shows at museums around the world and many publications.


    For many years now, a special aspect of her painterly oeuvre has been wall painting, which she has developed with her own personal style, pursuing various visual strands and concepts over the course of her career.


    One of these paths was already evident in 1993 in the space of the former Galerie Franck + Schulte: a spectacular wall drawing that was followed by a huge work at Magasin: Centre National d’Art Contemporarin in Grenoble. Until today, this was one of the most outstanding events in the exhibition history of Galerie Thomas Schulte.


    In her new work, A Nearly Endless Line #3, developed for the gallery’s Corner Space, she takes exhibitions that were held in Winter 2010 at Whitney Museum of American Art (The Endless Line) and Sue Scott Gallery in New York City (Another Endless Line) as her point of departure.


    The artist works on a foundation that consists of 12 to 15 layers of acrylic paint applied translucently, giving it an oscillating and yet invulnerable quality. This foundation is framed and contrasted with regular straight patterns made of think chalk lines onto which she draws lines in a seemingly free, almost calligraphic manner. But the line is so precisely calculated that, although painted over the room corners and seen from a distance, seems to abolish the structure of the gallery space and appear to be on a continuous surface. With simple means, the artist thus creates an optical illusion that is entirely unexpected, transforming painting to an almost three-dimensional experience. At the same time, she explores in this cycle what can be created with a single brushstroke. The paint or material is what makes up the artwork in this installation. In so doing, technique and image fuse to form a unity.


    She came to this way of working in her famous waterfall paintings, which made her prominent in the late 1980s. They reflect an interest in nineteenth century romantic painting, in abstract expressionism, in Chinese landscape painting, and in the Chinese tradition of so-called “flung ink painting.” Steir says about her own installations: “Installation allows the artist to paint out of the painting and into space and the viewer to move from space into a painting – the space where the act of painting takes place is in the imagination of the viewer.” The line dividing artwork and beholder thus blurs, and everything fuses to an almost endless line.

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