William Steigers's LUCKY Opens Tonight at Margaret Thatcher Projects
In LUCKY, William Steiger's ninth solo show at Margaret Thatcher Projects, the artist takes on New York City for the first time. It is a landscape that has long served as inspiration for artists and their work but Steiger pares down the chaos of the city, employing subtle visual cues such as a sliver of a shadow or the curved edge of a building to imply structures. Signage, water towers or bridges, often viewed from below, provide a distinct perspective that rekindles our awe and offers a unique portrait of the city.
The view in Silvercup (2013) is abstracted, and the background altogether absent, yet there is no question that we are looking at a depiction of a New York City landmark, the iconic signage of Silvercup Studios in Long Island City. Sweeping views of elevated train tracks or glass lined buildings, also detached from their usual surroundings, register a familiarity as well, bringing to mind a dreamy memory and tapping into feelings of nostalgia for the urban landscape.
Motifs originating from outside of "the city," such as wheat pools, caboose cars and other relics from the bygone era also appear in paintings such as Waycar III and Mill & Foundry. Operating in a style that can be described as hard-edged, flat and objective, Steiger has carved an important space as a painter of items from a collective library of visual recognition. Painted with a surreal starkness, they evoke pause in an era of rapid modernization.