‘Urban Structures’ addresses the loss that cultures or communities experience from the destruction or demolition of spaces, particularly those with personal or spiritual importance. Recent travels in Tibet, where Steger observed peoples’ homes and places of worship destroyed, provided an impetus for this series, as it reflected a similar experience back home, where he witnessed the demolition and redevelopment of structures in the ongoing gentrification cycle in Bushwick, a neighborhood in Brooklyn.
‘Urban Structures’ uses this cycle of destruction as a literal foundation; each sculpture features a found piece of Bushwick concrete rubble as a base upon which I design form-fitting abstract shapes. These structures, inspired by his 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. 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 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 with all of Steger's work, these ‘Urban Structures’ are designed to provoke contemplation about space, time, community, and man’s responsibilities to and within his environment.
—Text by Wilson Duggan