Daniel Sturgis is my favourite kind of painter- his work engages with what it is to paint, what it is to be a painter now, and with the act of painting, applying paint to surface and the time involved in the painting.
His paintings present seemingly simple graphic motifs which are actually drawn and painted by hand using inperceptible strokes. They look like masked blocks, but up close they present flat even surfaces with the human touch still in evidence.
Sturgis is interested in the messages you get from the work- you see order with wonkiness, flawed geometries with acceptance of loos anomalies in them.
The objectness and illusion of the painting. Susan Sontag ‘Notes on Camp’ discussed the duality of meaning in artworks, suggesting that accentuating the one can enlighten the other.
Mindful of where today’s painters sit, in the post-modernist world, inheritors of the history of painting, citing Pissan’s Life of the Artist, in which the philosopher declared Da Vinci as the God among artists, Sturgis asks, “how can we follow that?”
The only answer can be to play, to rebel, to mess about with the practice- if Da Vinci Devine pinnacle, and the avant guarde and the modernists elaborated and then dismantled the medium, then Sturgis feels free to question the medium, the surface and motivation.
Sturgis has curated and contributed to relevant exhibitions and residencies, and he talked at length about two: Perdify at Santa Maria de la Tourette, and Barracks at Berwick-upon-Tweed. These shows were in complete harmony with Sturgis’ response to the locations- that of obsolete modernism in the first, and embellished avant guard in the last.