Pat Steir studied art at Boston University and then transferred to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she received her BFA in 1961. Since the beginning of her career, Steir has been equally fascinated by painting, drawing, and printmaking. Her first lithographs were produced in 1973 for Chicago's Landfall Press; the following year she received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for painting. In 1975 Steir devoted herself exclusively to drawing. Renewed by the experience, she returned to other media in 1977.
Steir's images form the early seventies originally recalled maps, with journalistic notations and diagrams of personal experiences, as well as actual directions for making the art. Her first major public exposure came in 1972 when one of her paintings was reproduced in Time magazine's special issue on the women's movement, with which Steir was closely associated. She went on to exhibit widely in the United States and abroad, expanding her artistic output to include murals in France and America.
By the eighties, however, the artist had left behind literal forms, focusing instead on the relationships of line, color, atmosphere, and enigmatic symbols to suggest emotionally charged personal narratives. Her most recent paintings and prints continue to explore the evocative effect of marks as a means of communication, direct and indirect.
National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)