New York

Pat Steir

Droll/Kolbert Gallery

There is something very dark, very pessimistic about Pat Steir’s new paintings and drawings. Her previous work incorporated disturbing elements in an ensemble of marks and feelings; this variety has given way to a focus on despair. Dense, black squares, which were small sections of older paintings, have taken over. And although the “X” motif is not present visually in the paintings, it becomes instead implicit throughout. This “X,” or crossing out, used to appear alone, or it cancelled irises or roses, or marked out entire sections of a painting. It represented, in context, the artist’s (unique) capacity to choose, to change, to discriminate, to censor the work—to deny. Not only was this “X” a necessary aspect of artistic sensibility; it was an expression of Steir’s doubt, and denial. Steir’s new work takes up the theme of denial and expression, of giving up possibilities in the face of

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