Roman Rainbow

by Danilo Brunetti

The work of a contemporary American painter is celebrated at the city’s premier art gallery. 

This month, the Gagosian Gallery, one of Rome’s most important destinations for contemporary art, presents Pat Steir: Paintings, a solo exhibition of new and recent works by the renowned American artist. Harnessing the forces of gravity and gesture, Pat Steir (b. 1940) has developed a technique all her own consisting of pouring, splashing, and brushing thinned paint onto canvas, often working on a monumental scale. In addition to this physical aspect of her work, throughout the years, Steir’s style has evolved into an intuitive and mindful rejoinder to the innovations of postwar abstraction.

In her latest works, with their bold forays into new chromatic territories, she continues to further her artistic investigations with regard to the roles of intention and improvisation, as well as process and perception in pictorial structure. The works on view in this exhibit extend the systematic experimentation that Steir catalyzed in Color Wheel, a suite of thirty large-scale paintings exploring binary color dynamics. In addition to vibrant hues that generate unexpected nuance through layering and juxtaposition, Steir’s work is also characterized by a palette of elemental white and black. Rome holds many memories for Steir; Roman Rainbow, a large-scale painting that Steir created expressly for this exhibition, conjures the sensations of the city, warmed by layered spills of orange, yellow, and blue over a glowing red background.

Rome’s Gagosian Gallery is one of the twelve eponymous galleries that make up the international empire of art dealer Larry Gagosian, considered one of the most powerful influencers in the art world today. His other galleries can be found around the world, in cities like Paris, Hong Kong, London, and New York City.

Open Tue–Sat, 10:30am–7pm. Runs until 7 May. Via Francesco Crispi, 16. Tel 0642086498.