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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
Sponsored Content | Mazzoleni Gallery
Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Juan Ford

b. 1973, Australia

Juan Ford Biography

Juan Ford is an Australian contemporary artist known for his hyper-realistic paintings, as well as sculptures and installations. Experimenting with visual and spatial perception, the artist expands the boundary of painting as a medium and process, the inextricable relationship between humankind and nature, and his evolving self.

Ford has employed the photorealistic modes of representation and anamorphic imageries that have come to characterise his practice since the early stages of his career. For example, the painting Chrysalis (2001)—from one of his earliest series, 'Clone'—depicts his partner Emily against a greenish sky. The anamorphic shape next to her transforms into a wire satellite when the painting is viewed from a side. In an interview with online magazine Sleepy Brain in 2003, the artist said that the satellite signifies Emily's search for opportunities. The Big Prayer (2002)—another hyper-realistic painting from the same series—shows a man with a doppelgänger. A pair of wireframe robot hands visible in the background, held together as if praying, allude to ideas of cloning and artificial intelligence. The artist's 'Anamorphic' series (2006) consists entirely of distorted images. Each painting is laid flat on a surface with a reflective cylinder on it, so that the work's subject becomes recognisable on the mirror. Cleanliness, Godliness depicts Marcel Duchamp's urinal, while In the Mind of the Painter portrays a profile of a skull.

Ford's works often combine figuration, landscape tradition, and botanical illustration—the three elements that are, in the artist's words from an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald in 2014, 'the most unhip' of the Australian art canon. For a touring exhibition commissioned by La Trobe University Art Institute and the Australia Council for the Arts titled Lord of the Canopy (2012-2014), the artist built a eucalyptus tree out of logs and branches with metal joints nailed to them. This process of reconstructing a tree inside alluded to the impact of human intervention on the environment. The installation travelled to Mildura Arts Centre in 2013 and McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery, Melbourne, in 2014.

By merging figuration, landscape, and botanical illustration in his paintings, Ford challenges the fixity of genres and offers a new mode of representation. Inverted World, a solo exhibition at Brisbane's Jan Manton Art in 2007, presented portraits of individuals overlaid with shadows of leaves, inverting the prominence of nature over figuration in traditional Australian landscapes. As noted in Juan Ford: Artist of Seduction, published by Ocula Magazine, Australian flora also constitute crude anthropomorphic forms in his paintings such as Disobey Yourself (2013) and Guardian (2018) which features a human bust with a head that is made up of tree leaves.

Ford is also recognised for his introspective self-portraits, which were nominated for the Archibald Prize in 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2016. In Ultrapilgrim (2012), the artist portrays himself as a pilgrim figure journeying through life with a black plastic bag over his head and wearing a white garment fashioned like wings on his back. Regaining sight (a meditation on Rose Soady) (2016) pays homage to Rose Soady, an Australian printmaker and author who was the muse and business partner of artist Norman Lindsay. By placing her portrait over his profile, Ford references the process of losing oneself and finding inspiration or the muse while painting.

In addition to his self-portraits, Ford is acclaimed for his portraits of public Australian figures. Sir Isaac Isaacs (2014), for example, is of the first Australian-born governor-general and hangs in the country's Parliament. Other portraits include those of former Premier of Victoria John Brumby (2012) and chancellors and vice-chancellors of universities (for example, Chancellor Fay Marles, 2005, and Vice-Chancellor Richard Larkins—Monash University, 2007).

Ford studied engineering before graduating with a BFA in Painting from Melbourne's RMIT University in 1998, where he also earned his MFA in 2001. Selected solo exhibitions include Blank at Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong (2019); Solo Show at THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery, Melbourne (2015); Juan Ford: The Instant, Western Plains Cultural Centre, Dubbo (2011); and Make Nature Better, Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2011). He has also participated in a range of international art fairs, notably Sydney Contemporary (2018, 2017); Auckland Art Fair (2013); and Art Basel in Hong Kong (2013).

Biography by Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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If the Light Takes Us by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordIf the Light Takes Us, 2018-19 Oil on wood
Galerie du Monde
Prognosticator by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordPrognosticator, 2019 Oil on linen
180 x 150 cm
This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein
The Mystic by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordThe Mystic, 2019 Oil on linen
90 x 75 cm
Galerie du Monde
Recollector by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordRecollector, 2018 Oil on linen
180 x 150 cm
Galerie du Monde
Naiad by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordNaiad, 2019 Oil on linen
90 x 75 cm
Galerie du Monde
Lull by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordLull, 2019 Oil on linen
90 x 75 cm
Galerie du Monde
Leaf Ball by Juan Ford contemporary artwork
Juan FordLeaf Ball, 2018 Oil on linen
90 x 90 cm
Galerie du Monde

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Juan Ford, Blank at Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong
Closed
15 March–20 April 2019 Juan Ford Blank Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong
Contemporary art exhibition, Michael Cook, Simon Degroot, Juan Ford, Petrina Hicks, Group Exhibition at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
1–30 June 2018 Michael Cook, Simon Degroot, Juan Ford, Petrina Hicks Group Exhibition This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Juan Ford, Juan Ford at This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne
Closed
14 November–20 December 2015 Juan Ford Juan Ford This Is No Fantasy dianne tanzer + nicola stein, Melbourne

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

Juan Ford: Artist of Seduction Ocula Insight Juan Ford: Artist of Seduction 10 April 2019

At Galerie du Monde, Hong Kong, the centrepiece of Juan Ford's recent solo exhibition Blank (15 March–20 April 2019) was Recollector (2018), a hyper-realistic portrait of a solo female figure standing against a clear blue sky, the painting cropped at her knee. She is costumed in white drapery, although fragments of red, blue, and yellow under her...

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Dianne Tanzer Ocula Conversation Dianne Tanzer Director, Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects, Melbourne

Dianne Tanzer established her gallery, Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects in Melbourne, Australia in 1990. Established as an exciting platform for Australian contemporary art, it continues to deliver a robust exhibition program. This year the gallery is undergoing a significant shift as it joins forces with another Melbourne stalwart, Helen Gory...

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In Related Press

Parents' letters to arrive from the grave as Bendigo exhibition probes the past Related Press Parents' letters to arrive from the grave as Bendigo exhibition probes the past The Sydney Morning Herald : 19 April 2018

When artist Gabrielle De Vietri was asked to respond to Thomas Kennington's Homeless (1890), as part of Bendigo Art Gallery's New Histories exhibition, she designed a project based firmly in family, focusing on parenthood, deep connections and love. Letters to the Living – a time capsule of letters from parents to their children – will be stored in...

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Juan Ford at This is No Fantasy + Sue Dodd at Anna Pappas Related Press Juan Ford at This is No Fantasy + Sue Dodd at Anna Pappas The Age : 25 November 2015

Photorealism and hyper-realism are troubling genres. All too often we're left with empty gestures, pointing no further than back to the painting itself. Where the job of realism is to evoke the lived experience, hyper-realism might be read as painting's equivalent of the heavy metal guitar solo: all show and little substance. Luckily, Juan...

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Hyper-Realism Of Juan Ford'S Degenerator Unsettling And Absurd Related Press Hyper-Realism Of Juan Ford'S Degenerator Unsettling And Absurd Bronwyn Watson for The Australian / 29 November 2014 : 3 December 2014

After a visit to the local store to buy a balaclava and sunglasses, Juan Ford dressed himself in a T-shirt that he splattered with green paint. He made a makeshift gun from twigs collected from around his home, located on the outskirts of Melbourne. He then set up a camera in his back yard and took photographs.

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