After over three decades, celebrated American artist Pat Steir returns to Los Angeles with a groundbreaking solo exhibition titled “Painted Rain,” showcasing at Hauser & Wirth’s West Hollywood space starting February 28. This exhibition introduces a captivating new body of work inspired by Steir’s reflections on her time at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in the 1970s, notably the vivid ocean and sky vistas that left a lasting impression on her.
Steir, renowned for her dynamic blend of conceptual art with figuration and abstraction, explores the nuances of the color blue in “Painted Rain,” accented with vibrant hues to create mesmerizing optical effects. These effects are achieved through her signature techniques of streaming, pouring, and layering paint, which continue the thematic and stylistic exploration of her acclaimed Waterfall series. In these works, Steir allows the paint to dictate its own form, emphasizing the expressive potential of her materials.
The exhibition features large-scale canvases that form a visual current of color and movement, drawing viewers into a river of aqueous pigment that cascades down each piece. Steir’s method includes a foundational Verdaccio underpainting, a technique dating back to the Italian Renaissance, which imbues her canvases with a luminous base. Over this, she sketches a faint grid that guides the composition, onto which she carefully layers pigments, allowing gravity and chance to direct the flow of paint. The outcome is a series of stunningly vibrant works that invite contemplation on the interplay between abstraction and representation.
Noteworthy pieces include “Painted Rain #2” and “Friday Circus,” both from 2022-23, which showcase Steir’s adept manipulation of color and form to produce dramatic visual narratives. “Blue,” another highlight, offers a poignant meditation on its titular hue, with cascading whites and blues creating a sense of boundless space and depth.
Complementing the West Hollywood exhibition, Hauser & Wirth’s Downtown Los Angeles art center will present a selection of Steir’s limited-edition etchings and aquatints from the 1990s and early 2000s. This presentation, produced in collaboration with Crown Point Press, underscores Steir’s significant contributions to printmaking, a medium she has explored alongside her painting practice for over three decades.
In conjunction with “Painted Rain,” Steir has partnered with violinist, improviser, and composer Trina Basu to create a durational soundscape that will further enhance the sensory experience of the exhibition. This collaboration highlights Steir’s interest in cross-disciplinary artistic expressions and the deep connection between visual art and music.
Pat Steir, born in 1938 in Newark, New Jersey, has been a pioneering figure in contemporary painting for over fifty years. Her career is marked by a relentless pursuit of innovation, particularly noted in her Waterfall series, which garnered critical acclaim for its lyrical beauty and technical ingenuity. Steir’s work is deeply informed by her engagement with art history, Eastern philosophy, and a commitment to experimentation, making her one of the most original voices in contemporary art.
For further information about the exhibition and related events, please contact Ben Thornborough at Hauser & Wirth or Andrea Schwan at Andrea Schwan Inc.
This exhibition not only marks a significant return for Steir to the Los Angeles art scene but also celebrates her enduring influence and creativity in the realm of contemporary painting.