Mildura Palimpsest Biennale #9: Mildura Arts Centre

Juan Ford

4 - 7 Oct 2013

Degenerator is a large-scale painting set amongst an installation, which responds obliquely to aspects of landscape around Mildura. I’ve long created imagery from this landscape; the more I do so, the richer the finds I uncover.

Inspired by the buried detritus found on neighbouring salt pans, and also by the makeshift guns created by a friend’s child, I’ve been creating crude and useless firearms from these remains. The painting aberrantly depicts lone resistance fighter inspired figure, holding such a ‘weapon’ in a heroic pose. He is iconic and absurd, fearsome and powerless, ridiculous and valiant all at once.

The new work resonates with a recreated installation of Ford’s Lord of the Canopy which will also be on exhibition in the Mildura Arts Centre during Palimpsest. Lord of the Canopy is an immersive installation comprising a large and artificially constructed tree incorporating an anamorphic possum ring, and a large wall painting. Visitors can look to see what the ring reflects, and ponder Ford’s amalgam of rational and irrational references to ecology, subjugation of nature, absurdist metaphysics, and art history. Ford’s use of hyper-real painting in an installation context re frames the medium and creates an ironic counterpoint to recent discourses on representation in the language of photography and digital media.