Since the late 1980s Pat Steir has experimented with poured, dripped, and splashed paint application and afforded the role of collaborator to chance, gravity, and time. John Cage had encouraged her to remove herself from the process and create without leaving personal marks. Agnes Martin, another mentor, advocated for a spiritual approach to art. Steir’s work, while being instantly recognizable, expresses forces larger than herself. This selfless attitude was not lost on New York collectors Dorothy and Herbert Vogel who befriended Pat Steir and collected these paintings. They later donated them to Bowdoin as part of a larger gift in 2013. The Vogels’ affinity for cutting-edge art and unreserved generosity is legendary. Like the artist, they aspired to open up their lives to the world around them.
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