In Private Space/Public Face Carlton Scott Sturgill and Raghava KK explore the forces at work in the vast spaces between the self and the public persona. Family, community expectations, taboos and the complex layering of the sexual self and how it is expressed within both the domestic and the private spheres serve as the building blocks to both artists’ work.
Sturgill creates with materials associated with our consumer-obsessed culture to bring to life the conflict between our need to push our individual sexual boundaries and our desire to appear as ambassadors of a white-picket-fence America. His use of sexuality as a medium to address this conflict serves to further highlight our lifelong struggle between private and public.
Raghava KK’s work addresses the idealized concept of family to which we publicly aspire, juxtaposing this idea with dysfunctional imagery that suggests that in most families, all is not really as it appears. His series of paintings entitled Family Portraits presents several chilling tableaus of the relationship between father, mother, and child, based upon each individual’s futile struggle for balance between his/her identity and sexuality.
The artists differ greatly, however, in their use of imagery. While Sturgill appropriates imagery from Craigslist postings, which by their very nature are meant to conjure up sexual associations, KK uses nudity as a reference to the most raw and primitive plane of human identity. Seen together, Carlton Scott Sturgill’s and Raghava KK’s works are a continuum of our efforts to forge a distinctive identity, each artist grappling with the ways in which we project the self.
Raghava KK is a self-taught artist born in Bangalore, India in 1980. Since beginning his career in 1997 as a cartoonist with leading Indian publications, he has reinvented himself as a multi-disciplinary artist whose body of work spans genres as widely disparate as painting, sculpture, installation, film, performance, and even his own wedding. He has been featured in both the Indian and international media, including CNN, which recently named him as one of the ten most fascinating people the world has yet to know of.
His work grapples with the construct of identity, gender and sexuality, and the absence of interpersonal context in today’s world of online identity performance. He was recently invited as a panelist on “Background, Identity, and the Straight White Male” at Winkleman Gallery in New York. Recent exhibitions in New York and Mumbai have focused on how his relocation to New York City has affected his identity transformation.
Raghava has been recognized as an emerging voice within the international art scene. His works have been auctioned by the Queens Museum and Christie’s New York and he has been awarded grants from organizations such as the American Indian Foundation and the Robin Hood Foundation. He has lectured at institutions around the globe, including New York University, New Hampshire Institute of Art, and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Nimes, France. In February 2010, Raghava was invited to speak at the world-renowned TED Conference along with director James Cameron, musician Sheryl Crow, playwright Eve Ensler, and Bill Gates. He is currently in talks with Al Gore to produce a children’s book on climate change and global warming to be viewed in schools across America.
Carlton Scott Sturgill
Born in 1971 in Cincinnati, Ohio, Carlton Scott Sturgill received a BFA from the University of Cincinnati and an MA from Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. Although he now lives outside of the Queen City, Sturgill’s work continues to be shaped by the bedroom communities surrounding his hometown; an area so concerned with clean living that Larry Flynt’s Hustler magazine was banned from sale within the city limits for over twenty years and an exhibition of Robert Mapplethorpe’s photographs sparked an obscenity trial.
Working with materials taken from the landscape of American suburbia, such as paint chip samples from Home Depot and designer clothing from the all-American company Ralph Lauren, Sturgill creates works that examine shifting notions of privacy, sexuality and mortality within an increasingly brand-conscious society. His paintings, mosaics, and sculptures scratch the surface of suburban pretense, exploring the compulsion to veil both our desires and our fears behind the facade of a commoditized version of the American Dream.
Sturgill’s works have been widely exhibited in North America and Europe, including solo exhibitions in New York and London. Recently his work has been featured in the pages of New York Magazine and on the magazine’s online blog The Cut. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.