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Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to present its first solo exhibitio n 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 33\, Steers was celebrated for his allegorical painting that cap tured the emotional and political tenor of New York in the late 1980s and e arly 1990s\, particularly the impact of Queer identity and the AIDS crisis.

Dedicated to figurati ve painting despite a hostile artistic climate\, Steers deliberately experi ments 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 wo rks from the 90s\, anxiety and mortality grow in presence\, haunting the co rpulent figures and casting a brutal glow onto the scene. Throat (19 91) takes a more literal stance\, depicting the torture of anticipation as illness looms imminent.

At once biographical and allegorical\, the intimate domestic scenes on vi ew employ a style deeply rooted in art historical tradition to depict conte mporary issues with extraordinary immediacy. Recalling his influential Amer ican 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 perspectiv e\, and radiant golden light.

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Hug h Steers (1963–1995) was celebrated for his allegorical painting that captu red the emotional and political tenor of New York in the late 1980s and ear ly 1990s\, particularly the impact of Queer identity and the AIDS crisis. B orn in Washington\, D.C.\, Steers studied painting at Yale University\, and pursued a commitment to figuration throughout his career\, cut dramaticall y short by AIDS at the age of 32. Influenced by historical figures of Ameri can art\, including Thomas Eakins\, Edward Hopper\, and Paul Cadmus\, he em braced representational painting and figuration at a time when such approac hes were especially unfashionable.

Steers described his artistic perspective in an interview in September 1992: “I think I'm in the tradition of a certain kind of American artist—artists whose work embodies a certain gorgeous bleakness. Edward Ho pper\, Jackson Pollock\, Franz Kline—they all had this austere beauty to th em. They found beauty in the most brutal forms. I think that's what charact erizes America\, the atmosphere\, its culture\, its cities and landscape. T hey all have that soft glow of brutality.”

While embracing the polemics of identity politics thro ugh his visual content\, Steers’ emotionally charged painting took a depart ure from the more didactic work of his peers. The last five years of his ar tistic practice focused on AIDS as a subject matter\, drawing on community experience and mixing dreamlike allegory with figurative realism. The resul ting images amplify issues of mortality and isolation\, defiance and compas sion. Hugh Steers’ artwork is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of A merican Art\, the Walker Art Center\, and the Denver Art Museum. A forthcom ing catalogue raisonné of Steers’ paintings and drawings will be organized by Visual AIDS.

DTEND:20130216 DTSTAMP:20140419T000308 DTSTART:20130112 GEO:40.74975;-74.003741 LOCATION:Alexander Gray Associates\,508 West 26 Street #215 \nNew York\, NY 10001 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Solo Exhibition\, Hugh Steers UID:252444 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130112T200000 DTSTAMP:20140419T000308 DTSTART:20130112T180000 GEO:40.74975;-74.003741 LOCATION:Alexander Gray Associates\,508 West 26 Street #215 \nNew York\, NY 10001 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:Solo Exhibition\, Hugh Steers UID:252445 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR