In 1988, Pat Steir, whose painting practice has roots in conceptual art, developed her pour technique, combining a system with a sensitivity to the medium itself. According to Steir, the paint “changes as it pours down. Gravity becomes my collaborator. The way the thing works is always in part a surprise.” Streaks of light colored paint on the surface of Summer simultaneously evoke streams of a gentle rain as well as a flowering field covered with riots of blossoms of peach, red, and blue. Evoking a sense of infinite duration, the painted surface wraps around the stretcher bars, transforming the painting from image into object, from illusion into environment. Steir’s strong connection with the Vogels is reflected in their prodigious acquisition of her work, including this canvas, which hung prominently for many years in their apartment. “Herb was so special in the studio with me,” recalls Steir. “You know he could throw away things, put them next to each other, and suddenly he changed them into a masterpiece almost. He had that incredible quality to see art.”
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