Pat Steir: Kairos
Lévy Gorvy, New York
September 7 - October 21, 2017
Pat Steir: Kairos (2016) was the first New York exhibition of the artist since joining Lévy Gorvy in early 2016. Kairos showcased paintings that manifest a methodological and philosophical continuity with—and slight formal departure from—her celebrated Waterfall series. Comprising Steir’s first exhibition of new work in over three years, the paintings in Kairos were lush and sweeping in scale, with titles such as Endless Sky, Aporia, Melancholy, Poros, and Rose Hip describing the states and senses they evoke. The featured works revisit the dialogue between intuition and accident that has defined Steir’s practice since the 1970s, renewing these themes for the present day.
The dialectics of intention and chance define Steir’s five-decade-long practice; in the Kairos paintings, Steir furthers her investigation of non-objective painting with planes of complex color and texture situated on and between a central fissure. The exhibition title, Kairos, means a propitious moment for decision or action. It originates from Trance Abyss, a poem by Anne Waldman written specifically with this body of work in mind and published in the exhibition catalogue. Observing their temporal dynamics, Waldman remarks, “There is a rupture in the fabric of Pat Steir’s current paintings. The explosive Waterfalls offered a full-on stereophonic experience of entering spaces of celestial climatic ‘pours’ and one feels the visceral impact of her entities in space. But here we peer into the heavenly abyss, the beauteous, unsettling rift which is a contentious point of origin between two sides or bodies of similar yet severed wholes.”