new-york

Pat Steir

Robert Miller Gallery

Pat Steir’s new paintings, exhibited under the Goethean title “Elective Affinities,” continue to rehearse the abstractly generated waterfall imagery that has preoccupied her for the last several years. As before, a vehement, loaded stroke at the top of the canvas allows thinned paint to drip down, evoking falling water, while below some flung splashes à la early Norman Bluhm represent the water’s upward splash. What’s new is that Steir has renounced the grisaille to which this series had been confined in favor of intense—not to say lurid—color. In one sense, however, Steir’s use of color remains limited: with one exception, she doles these colors out just two to a canvas, one for the ground, one for the splashes.

Steir’s earlier work, culminating in The Breughel SeriesA Vanitas of Style, 1982–84, replicated the stylistic procedures of Western and Asian artworks ranging from the 14th to

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