JOHN STURGEON
2 Aspects, ©1976
b&w, 4:08 minutes, sound

Using the desert floor like a drawing surface for a diagrammatical enactment of the function of conjunction and opposition, Sturgeon combines a delicate and precise ritualistic structure with the vastness and unpredictability of the windswept landscape. A goblet of water arcs at the end of a string; shadow patterns form symbols in a focusing diagram. By placing himself as a balancing agent between two glasses of water, he struggles for equilibrium; eventually glasses tip and spill alternately bowing to the force of one side or the other. Finally he steps out of the scene, strolling off with the empty water pitcher rolling away in the wind.

Produced: El Mirage dry Lake, Mojave desert, CA; camera: Jay Willis
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"The landscapes in his work are minimal and primitive. Sturgeon has a tendency to perform at beaches, in deserts, and on salt flats. In all of these cases, one cannot help but notice that the basic elements of which the visual field is comprised are earth, air, water (provided in ritualistic form by Sturgeon when necessary), and fire. The logic of the ancients is presented in its most direct form, and the abstractions of the micro and molecular worlds melt into nothingness in the face of these vast panoramas." -- (Steven Kurtz, “Radical Mysticality: The Work of John Sturgeon”)

"Through his performances and videotapes, John Sturgeon has developed a personal language system that explores the relationship between opposites: left-side/right-side, rational/intuitive, abstract/symbolic, mental/physical. He uses the human body in both ritualistic and mythic motions as a tool to explore that which is usually not expressible verbally." - Video Data Bank - video tape review, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

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