Nature and I have a peculiar relationship. I enjoy the odd bushwalk or visit to the local park, and I adore swimming in the ocean. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve day trips to national parks. But I’m the first to admit that I do like my nature tamed. Give me rolling farmland over rugged bushland any day.
Maybe my upbringing is to blame. Growing up in a suburban house situated in a country town, I never quite knew whether I was meant to be a country bumpkin or an urban boy.
Juan Ford seems to share my confusion. I popped into the marvellous Sullivan+Strumpf this morning to check out the Melbourne artist’s latest work, which examines humans’ continual attempts to try and tame nature; to no avail it seems. In his paintings of native Australian flora entangled with packaging tape (below), or the odd rubber glove (above), Ford explore themes of fragility and vulnerability, leaving audiences confused about their own relationship with nature, and their reaction to the distortion of national emblems.