ArtHelix is pleased to present Reclaimed, an exhibition of new sculptures by Kurt Steger, on view from January 8th through February 7th, 2016.
The works in this exhibition are from Steger’s recent ‘Urban Structures’ series, which addresses the loss that cultures or communities experience from the destruction or demolition of spaces, particularly those with personal or spiritual importance. The artist’s recent travels in Tibet, where he observed peoples’ homes and places of worship destroyed, provided an impetus for this new series, as it reflected a similar experience back home witnessing the demolition and redevelopment of structures in the ongoing gentrification cycle here in Bushwick.
The works in Steger’s ‘Urban Structures’ series use this cycle of destruction as a literal foundation; each sculpture features a found piece of Bushwick concrete rubble as a base on which the artist designs form-fitting abstract shapes. These structures, inspired by Steger’s interest in architecture, are each a unique response to their concrete base, designed to balance and contrast with the jagged, uneven shapes and surfaces in the material. Through its reduction to rubble, the concrete begins to imitate the inherent randomness of natural forms, though often in the pieces Steger has selected for the series, a trace of former function remains, like the curved imprint left from a pipe or an angle that marked the edge of a curb.
Each structure is designed as a type of sacred space that honors the memory of its foundation’s past. In most of the works, the structures contain an object or material, such as earth from Steger’s travels in Tibet, white sage, seeds, or notes composed as prayers. The spiritual aspect of the work remains largely undefined and open to interpretation, not adhering to a specific religious tradition.
As art objects, Steger’s sculptures provoke contemplation about space, time, community, and man’s responsibilities to and within his environment. In the context of the exhibition, the sculptures transform the gallery into its own type of sacred space, which contains and helps reveal the artworks to the viewer.