American painter Pat Steir was highly influenced by Abstract Expressionism and Taoist philosophy. Ancient Chinese painting techniques, most significantly the eighth- and ninth-century “ink-splashing” painters, helped to inform her Waterfall series, which gained her acclaim and recognition in the 1980s. These works, created by splashing and dripping her pigments onto the canvas, were inspired by the relationship between man and nature, and the concept of allowing elemental forces to actively assist in creating her paintings. She begins the process, and then lets gravity and the environment take over, the results no longer in her hands.
In her early years, she studied with Conceptual and Minimalist artists, such as Agnes Martin and Lawrence Weiner. Steir has been quoted as saying she desires to destroy images as symbols by creating the image, then crossing it out, breaking down each brush stroke and texture into its own image. Her abstract and representational works have been shown or collected by the Brooklyn Museum, MOMA in New York, and the Walker Art Center.