IN THE GALLERY: Juan Ford ‘First Principles’

Juan Ford

31 Jan - 17 Feb 2024

Juan Ford’s practice has consistently been engaged with opening new possibilities for realism in art. While his work evolves and varies across time, it characteristically involves an examination of the human figure and its fraught relationship to the natural environment. He has employed many strategies that argue around the theoretical ‘problems’ of realism in painting, and in this new body of work, he peels back his refined painting practice and revisits the fundamentals of image-making, by literally and figuratively returning to basics.

‘First Principles’ is a return to drawing entirely from observation. This body of work has been created entirely outdoors, immersed in nature on locations hinted at by the titles of the artworks, with technology no more complex than a black pencil, easel and a gessoed board. Ford says, “When selecting the subjects I have no preconditions, but have been focused on elements found on location. I draw until the thing is done, then leave.”
The return to basics is a reaction to the looming effects of generative Artificial Intelligence software. Ford states that while he has “no particular opinion on this technology, I did want to create a series of works where such advanced technologies were absent.” These pieces are drawn completely from life, and are something only a human can do, albeit with a lifetime of training and self-discipline. The resulting artworks are rooted in the experience of human perception and analogue media, with all its limitations and intrigues.

See the exhibition map HERE