Distinguished by reductive designs and subtle modulations of surface texture, Kahn’s paintings oscillate between representation and abstraction. While his subject matter can easily be identified as landscape and seascape, the actual images are more suggestive, as natural phenomena are transformed through imagination and memory.
Steir’s depiction of natural phenomena, like Kahn’s, is based on equivalence, implied but never overt. Whereas Kahn’s images suggest a meditative serenity, Steir’s tend to explore more expressionistic dimensions. Since the mid-1980s, Steir has drawn inspiration from waterfalls and waves, creating monumental, abstract analogues for these chaotic forces in the form of paintings directly on the wall.
The addition of photographer John Pfahl's Permutations on the Picturesque, 1993–97, gives the project another dimension by introducing photographic images of picturesque landscapes based on 19th-century prototypes that Pfahl subtly manipulated in the computer and Iris printed with watercolor inks on Wattman paper.
Landscape at the Millennium was accompanied by an illustrated brochure that included interviews with Kahn and Steir, and quotations on landscape painting by 19th century painters.
A panel discussion entitled “Points of View” was held in conjunction with this exhibition on November 21 to discuss the ways our perception of landscape has evolved over the past 100 years. The panel featured Inka Essenhigh, Tobi Kahn, Pat Steir, and Linda Schneekloth, moderated by Curator Douglas Dreishpoon.
This exhibition was organized by Curator Douglas Dreishpoon.