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Juan Ford’s painting is a self-portrait and a meditation on Rose Soady, Norman Lindsay’s model, muse, business partner, lover and, later, wife. She was also a printmaker and an author.
‘Recently I took to wondering how Norman Lindsay might have gone about making his work without Rose Soady. Maybe he wouldn’t have coped, maybe he would have. Whatever the case, the links between him, her and his practice was symbiotic and interdependent,’ says Ford.
‘That is not to say that she should be thought of as someone who lived in his shadow. She created and occupied a universe of her own, and was a vivacious, fascinating personality. I admire her resistance to the wowserism of the times; she deserves to be celebrated and remembered.
‘The painting is also a self-referential work, a painting about the act of painting itself. It is about the cycle of constantly losing, then regaining the muse, whatever that ill-defined creative spark is. What better way to address this than to remember one who embodied this notion?’
Born in Melbourne in 1973, Ford has an interdisciplinary practice that ranges from painting to installation. He has had 20 solo exhibitions since 1998, including one recently held at Art Basel Hong Kong. He has also been part of more than 140 group shows, nationally and internationally, including the Nakanojo Biennale in Japan in 2015. This is his fourth time in the Archibald Prize.