Juan Ford uses duct tape to piece together a post-apocalyptic world. By connecting elements like sticks, “fragile” tape, leaves, chains, and sports gear, his paintings foreshadow a future where nature and plasticity merge as human beings fight for survival.
Ford’s paintings are a combination of solitary figures and haphazard geographic markers that point to an existence imagined in futurist novels and sci-fi movies. The figures, whose survival gear is a collection of protective pieces and camouflage, are both stoic and pleading, and we are urged to decipher the identity of each one via the costume they have assumed. Branches wrapped in tape indicate a fragile political boundary that time and weather cannot guarantee.
Ford is trying to extend traditional painting into a genre “as relevant as the most cutting edge contemporary art,” but these works become even more powerful in an installation environment. For ArtBasel Hong Kong (2013), his exhibition space was covered in a large panoramic forest scene. With works hung on top, this photographic backdrop starkly differentiates his hyperrealistic paintings and asks us to step between a real and imagined chaotic world. His Mildura Palimpsest Biennale show (2013) had works hung on black walls surrounded by primitive hunting tools.
Ford considers the outcomes of a fragile and politically intertwined existence. His images, which seem to lack meaning in their arbitrariness, present a poignant and uncanny unity to a world that we may not live in yet but is not too difficult to imagine. Ford lives and works in Australia and was recently awarded a New Work Grant by the Australia Council for the Arts. (via booooooom!)
Artist quote from Gillie and Margaret Daily
Photography taken from: juanford.com