Hugh Steers

 January 12 - February 16, 2013
Hugh Steers
Installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2013)
Hugh Steers
Installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2013)
Hugh Steers
Installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2013)
Hugh Steers
Installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2013)
Hugh Steers
Installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2013)
Hugh Steers
Installation view, Alexander Gray Associates (2013)
Bath Curtain (1992)
Oil on canvas
71.94h x 60.13w in (182.73h x 152.73w cm)
Bath Curtain (1992)
Oil on canvas
71.94h x 60.13w in (182.73h x 152.73w cm)
Blue Towel, Red Tank (1988)
Oil on canvas
66h x 71.94w in (167.64h x 182.73w cm)
Blue Towel, Red Tank (1988)
Oil on canvas
66h x 71.94w in (167.64h x 182.73w cm)
Red Face Cloth (1989)
Oil on canvas
45.63h x 66.5w in (115.9h x 168.91w cm)
Red Face Cloth (1989)
Oil on canvas
45.63h x 66.5w in (115.9h x 168.91w cm)
Door to Tub (c. 1989-90)
Oil on canvas
65.13h x 44w in (165.43h x 111.76w cm)
Door to Tub (c. 1989-90)
Oil on canvas
65.13h x 44w in (165.43h x 111.76w cm)
Man and Bowl (1993)
Oil on canvas
60.19h x 37.13w in (152.88h x 94.31w cm)
Man and Bowl (1993)
Oil on canvas
60.19h x 37.13w in (152.88h x 94.31w cm)
Bedtime (1990)
Oil on gessoed paper
11.25h x 13w in (28.58h x 33.02w cm)
Bedtime (1990)
Oil on gessoed paper
11.25h x 13w in (28.58h x 33.02w cm)
Falling Lamp (1987)
Oil on canvas
19.25h x 15.63w in (48.9h x 39.7w cm)
Falling Lamp (1987)
Oil on canvas
19.25h x 15.63w in (48.9h x 39.7w cm)
Purple Velvet Dress (1989)
Oil on canvas
54.75h x 46.25w in (139.07h x 117.48w cm)
Purple Velvet Dress (1989)
Oil on canvas
54.75h x 46.25w in (139.07h x 117.48w cm)
Boxes (1990)
Oil on canvas
40h x 32w in (101.6h x 81.28w cm)
Boxes (1990)
Oil on canvas
40h x 32w in (101.6h x 81.28w cm)
Handholding (1990)
Oil on canvas
54h x 44.06w in (137.16h x 111.91w cm)
Handholding (1990)
Oil on canvas
54h x 44.06w in (137.16h x 111.91w cm)
Throat (1991)
Oil on canvas
59.88h x 52.06w in (152.1h x 132.23w cm)
Throat (1991)
Oil on canvas
59.88h x 52.06w in (152.1h x 132.23w cm)
Innocent Man with Cleaver and Red Drape (1989)
Oil on gessoed paper
10.88h x 13w in (27.64h x 33.02w cm)
Innocent Man with Cleaver and Red Drape (1989)
Oil on gessoed paper
10.88h x 13w in (27.64h x 33.02w cm)

About the Exhibition

Press Release PDF 12 MB

January 12 - February 16, 2013

Alexander Gray Associates was pleased to present its first solo exhibition of works by Hugh Steers, featuring paintings and works on paper produced from 1987–1993. Throughout his career, cut dramatically short by AIDS at the age of 32, Steers was celebrated for his allegorical painting that captured the emotional and political tenor of New York in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly the impact of Queer identity and the AIDS crisis.

Dedicated to figurative painting despite a hostile artistic climate, Steers deliberately experiments with the role of beauty, manipulating the medium to create palpable tension between visual appeal and raw content. Familiar interior spaces—the bathroom and the bedroom—provide the stage for Steers' complex narratives. In Purple Velvet Dress (1989), delineations of real and imaginary, ego and alter-ego, eroticism and isolation become blurred. Later, in works from the 90s, anxiety and mortality grow in presence, haunting the corpulent figures and casting a brutal glow onto the scene. Throat (1991) takes a more literal stance, depicting the torture of anticipation as illness looms imminent.

At once biographical and allegorical, the intimate domestic scenes on view employ a style deeply rooted in art historical tradition to depict contemporary issues with extraordinary immediacy. Recalling his influential American predecessors, including Thomas Eakins, Paul Cadmus, Marsden Hartley, and Charles Demuth, Steers renders tenderness, isolation, intimacy, and psychological dilemma through dramatic use of color, skewed perspective, and radiant golden light.

Artist Info