Joseph Bellows Gallery is pleased to announce the October/November exhibitions featuring images of the military. The gallery will feature William Laven's series War Models and Edward Sturr's Infantry Series from October 13th - November 11th, 2006.
The images Sturr created do not arise from combat situations and all the physical and emotional complexities such scenes can invoke. Instead he shares with viewers his very un-dramatic experiences in the Illinois National Guard during the early and relatively quiet years of America's military involvement in Viet Nam. More than politics or war itself, his subject is the often challenging tedium of never ending training interrupted by brief periods of intense exertion followed by utter exhaustion.
These black and white photographs of mostly anonymous "weekend warriors" immortalize moments that in truth are fleeting and mundane, and far from political. They lend a kind of grandeur to the unremarkable experiences of young men brought together by chance and circumstance for several weeks at a time over the course of a few years, and who then melt away from each other to wherever it was they came from. Sturr's photographs are about these people; more about their individual humanity than about their soldiering.
The artist's subsequent career as a photographic artist and arts educator would follow this example - focusing on people's experience; their inner realities more than on their external circumstances and whatever connotations those circumstances might suggest.
Much of this later work focused on the people of Chicago, where he was a highly regarded member of the informally organized "Chicago School" of street photography. The Joseph Bellows Gallery featured this body of Sturr's work in a 2002 solo exhibition and catalog.
Born in 1937, Sturr studied and later taught at Chicago's highly regarded Institute of Design. Among his professors were Harry Callahan, Arthur Seigel, and Aaron Siskind.
Opening reception, October 13th, 6-8 pm.