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painting's edge: pat steir.

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"Breathe with unconditioned breath
the unconditioned air."

Wendell's 'How to be a Poet', coffee, the smells of oil paint mixing here, on this point, with the warming outside air. Berry writes "Accept what comes from silence" and perhaps he means to accept what comes when we are silent.

"let the phoebe, the sycamore,
the river, the stone call themselves
by whatever they call themselves, their own
sounds, their own silence."



Pat Steir sat in a Spanish cafe and heard "the most beautiful music," the music of the streets, of human anatomy as it eats, breathes and walks, the music of John Cage, "John's music." Maybe all those minimalists were right in this, to attempt human silence, though I do not believe they were listening for another's voice. The voice which we have all been told to listen for is our own, to find ourselves, to "go into yourself" says Rilke. Pat Steir so poetically spoke to the acceptance of self instead of the locating of self. We were born as individuals and send our lives fighting contemporary pressure to repress and to conform. She and Tomaselli both agree that art magazines conform to this universal peer pressure and thus so much artwork, so many of the Painting's Edge participant's work look similar.

I was unable to attend Pat's lecture, but spent yesterday morning in her discussion and she is currently standing 4 feet to my right, glancing through a Beatriz Milhazes book. Her work, especially her earlier paintings such as the one imaged above, have been very influential in my thinking process. Her biggest advice: Go to the Met. Look at everything-the trees, the rocks, Eastern art, jewelery, old work and new work, work you dislike and to travel. Encouragement to self and you other figurative painters, Pat Steir paints and etches self portraits..although she has not shown them since the 1990's.
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