A team of 30 Purchase College students overseen by faculty members from the Purchase College School of Art + Design will completely take over the Richard & Dolly Maass Gallery from September 15-30 to re-create one of artist Pat Steir’s most acclaimed wall drawings called Self-Portrait: An Installation.
The two-week project is being done in conjunction with the Neuberger Museum’s exhibition Pat Steir: Drawing Out of Line which is on view to December 19. Wall drawings have been an ongoing aspect of the artist’s work since 1975 and this work was first presented in 1987 at the New Museum in New York. The finished work will be on view to November 19.
Faculty members Susan Horvath, Julian Kreimer and Michael Torlen have selected the undergraduates and graduate students who are participating. They will execute the work using pencil lead, ink wash, oil stick and red pencil and chalk, according to Steir’s instructions under the supervision of Anthony Sansotta, the artistic director of the Sol Lewitt estate. The project will give the public a rare opportunity to see the process unfold through the windows of the Maass Gallery.
The project will be done in several phases. Pat Steir created a model of the space and redesigned the project specifically for the Mass Gallery. The imagery is inspired by Renaissance and Baroque drawing manuals discussed in E.H. Gombrich’s Art and Illusion, 1960, one of the artist’s favorite texts as well as drawing manuals in the New York Public Library’s Rare Books Room.
The first stage requires a surface layer. Students will draw a circular pattern on the walls to develop a background layer. Once a sufficient density is reached, a grid will be applied. When this is complete, images of eyes, ears and other facial features will be drawn on the grid. The drawing style of each feature is determined in advance by Pat Steir who uses examples from different drawing manuals so each ear is different in style and scale. In the end, every wall of the Maass Gallery will be covered with enlarged images of parts of the face—eyes, ears, noses and mouths. In creating this work, Steir questioned whether all art is self-portraiture, even when the gesture of the artist is removed and the work is governed by rules and emotional detachment.
As the installation team copies images from sources in drawing books which are projected onto walls, they gain insight into Ms Steir’s thinking and style much like apprentices of earlier centuries.
The Pat Steir work complements an exhibition in the Neuberger Museum of art called Pat Steir: Drawing Out of Line which will be on view from September 11 to December 19. The show was organized by Jan Howard, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Rhode Island School of Design and Susan Harris, and independent curator.
The Maass Gallery will celebrate the completion of the work with a public reception from 5-7 PM on September 30 and a lecture at 6:30 PM with Pat Steir and Susan Harris.
Students participating in the project are:
Rebecca Miner, Sidney, NY
Estelle Maisonett, Bronx, NY
Katherine Perez, Bronx, NY
Francisco Donoso, Jacksonville, Florida
Ryan Clow, Troy, NY
Corinne Pulsinelle, Milford, NJ
Julian Osorio, Watchung, NJ
Kaitlin Gaudette, Hyde Park, NY
Christine Elmore, Newfield, NY
Samantha Yergo, Merrick, NY
Caleb Trimm, Webster, NY
Theresa Daddezio, Endwell, NY
Bethany Blanchard, Corning, NY
Olivia Hoover, Ballston Lake, NY
Inessa Fendrikova, Warwick, NY
Anne Dilorenzo, New York, NY
Anli Hu, Schenectady, NY
Michal Berman, Brewster, NY
Sean Hildreth, Cheltenham, PA
Alexandra Andresen, New York, NY
Michael Marsico, Emerson, NJ
Nicole Aiello, Brooklyn, NY
Patricia Grullon, Middle Village, NY
Laura Kriegel, Rochester, NY
Adriana Vera-Leon, Port Jefferson, NY
Alexander Derwick, Olean, NY
Allison Murphy, Merrick, NY
Christine Mahoney, Purchase, NY
Clair Murphy (Intern Neuberger)
Courtney Childress (MFA), Dorchester, Mass.
Ellie Perendy, St. Paul, Minn.
Jennifer Dawson (MFA), Greenwich, CT
Jennifer Hitchings, Lincoln Park, NJ
Jessica Whittam (MFA), Port Jeff Station, NY
Joseph Pecorano, Rochester, NY
Manuel Bova, Syracuse, NY
Margaret Rizzio (MFA), Camden, Maine
Maria Rojas, Richmond Hill, NY
Rebecca Shippee, Kingston, NY
Shannon Licitra, Manlius, NY
Tim Martineau, Blossvile, NY
Victoria Wrubel, Staten Island, NY