New York

Hugh Steers

Richard Anderson Fine Arts

For as long as he’s shown his work in New York, Hugh Steers has painted genre scenes of gay men in bohemian surroundings, sometimes dressed up in women’s clothing, sometimes, apparently, having sex (they’re discreetly positioned; it’s hard to know for sure). Some suffer from AIDS—catheters, wasted bodies, and hospital robes are much in evidence—and in the gloomy, naked-lightbulb atmosphere, all his subjects take on an abject pallor.

The overall sensibility, despite ominous lighting and portentous poses, is one of self-awareness; each face and body quietly possessed by a sense of its own absurdity. Isolated as they are, Steers’ men seem almost amused by their own queer goings-on. These paintings portray a complex emotional state, one characterized not only by exhaustion and isolation but by the nervous laughter and desperate camp that can come with them. Beneath all of this one

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