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Pat Steir, Winter Group 3: Red, Green, Blue and Gold, 2009–11, oil on canvas, 10' 11 5/8“ x 11' 3/8”. From the series “Winter Paintings,” 2009–.

Pat Steir

Cheim & Read

Pat Steir, Winter Group 3: Red, Green, Blue and Gold, 2009–11, oil on canvas, 10' 11 5/8“ x 11' 3/8”. From the series “Winter Paintings,” 2009–.

Since 1989, Pat Steir has remained committed to producing her signature “Waterfall Paintings,” for which she pours thinned, almost aqueous oil paint in multiple layers onto a dry, primed ground so that it cascades down the canvas. Reminiscent of their namesake cataracts, these works effect—through Steir’s incorporation of drips and frank homage to modernist geometries—what Matthew Guy Nichols aptly described in 2008 as a “rain shower through a Newman ‘zip’ painting.” Others have written paeans to Steir’s gravity-abetted rivulets and torrents, and most cannot help but note her engagement with natural phenomena: responses begged by her skilled, if ultimately aleatory, process and her very deliberate foregrounding of it. (One thinks of Steir’s longtime mentor, Agnes Martin, in this respect, Martin being the great interpreter of her own egoless production.)

But whereas Steir’s

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