Hugh Steers, Morning Terrace, 1992, oil on canvas, 72 × 54".

Hugh Steers

Alexander Gray Associates

Hugh Steers, Morning Terrace, 1992, oil on canvas, 72 × 54".

New York City’s cramped tenement apartments were the standard setting for painter Hugh Steers (1962–1995). Within these intimate environs, Steers most often depicted male figures—alone or in pairs—in various states of solemn embrace and ailing woe, evoking the emotional carnage of the AIDS crisis, which ravaged the queer community and claimed Steers’s own life when he was thirty-two. For the exhibition “Day Light” at Alexander Gray Associates, these signature interior scenes were paired with a lesser-known group of outdoor pieces Steers made while in residence at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in idyllic Madison, Maine, in 1991. Together, the two bodies of work illuminate, quite literally, the artist’s deft handling of natural light, both indoors and out. The show also revealed the psychological through line of Steers’s paintings: a “soft glow of brutality”

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