Aaron Ford and Robin Megannity
Xxijra Hii is pleased to present a two person exhibition of new works by Aaron Ford and Robin Megannity. The aim of Perfect Passive is to make a connection, viscerally or emotionally, to the notion of exploring non-linear means of chronicling and disseminating information over an indeterminable stretch of time. The information may at times be the same, but the way in which the artist experiences it determines the motifs, nuance and agency within the work. The exhibition started off as a conversation, one conceived with a question regarding the ‘Replicant’, a being which is created as a subordinate service provider, but in reality is superior to it’s creator in every way. Whilst rooted in science fiction, Replicants are becoming a reality with the fascination of ever-lifelike image processes, interactive renders and ‘smart’ generators. The over-industrial generating of images becomes mimetic, each version feels familiar but is slightly off, uncanny. For Ford this is seen in the scale of ‘Giant Man Holding Canvas’; a close friend of the artist but depicted as slightly larger than life. Any more substantial and the image would read optically as a photograph, any smaller and it would become a figure in an interior scene. This gives the impression that this could be a real unusually large person, which was something absurd and funny to Ford. “I’ve always enjoyed how painting can be a vessel for imagining the fantastical or the sublime, and I wanted to lead on from this idea of giants and grapple with the fantastical through my process of image collection. This led me to the grotesque orcish figure in the painting ‘Defiler’, and the illustration of faux-classical sculptures in the painting ‘Polychromy Study’. Both these images are grappling with the process of rendering something imagined and mythic into the real world. One through the synthetic process of digital renderings for use in film, the other through applying paint to monochrome sculptures to speculate on their previous appearance.” In tune with this disembodied sense of composition and attention, Megannity is considerate of the fact that he is dealing with culture and not reality in his practice. A tactic of detachment or separation, this objectivity allows the work to find some kind of autonomy, to stand independent from Megannity to a point. He reverses palettes and creates drama where perhaps, a more tender and soft happening is the truth; directing his models from a distance but inevitably as time passes, imprinting his sensibility and sense of self on them. “[the notion of disinterest…] relates to some aesthetic and positional choices - blankness, impotence, privacy, withdrawal, quietude - states that are charged but inactive. This is often the kind of temperament my work navigates towards” There is a tension in this charged state, versus its stillness. Each of Megannity’s paintings hold an inherent ‘potential’, a non-physical energy; often ominous. The stance of the artist within the works enacts this tension, simultaneously being disembodied from a ‘god-like view’, selecting, directing and staging these scenes from afar, yet he is up-close and embodied in the scene itself. The animation ‘Table Manners’ also brings this into play, the artist both embodied and engaged as a seemingly emotionless drone; exploring the mirror-like surface of abandoned, juicy, overripe and putrid items. It appears to be searching for survivors, or some semblance of life in the still life. Inspired by Tarkovsky's film ‘Mirror’ where a series of vignettes that don't have a clear narrative logic are presented, it is suggested that the scenes form a biography of a character that is never shown. What we see is their experience or memory and so it shifts and morphs, tracking through associations and moving with the freedom and fog of thought. ‘Sculpting in time’. It is this abstraction that protects us from memory-in-truth, to allow us to become nostalgic and not always melancholic. The reflective surface is too a device for a different state of experience from each actor or artist, immediately rendering them into a frame or allowing their gaze to be refracted from different positions. ‘It’s you, but backwards’. The Mirror can be used as a set of fresh eyes. A simulation whereby a shifting of the artist’s position and gaze, means they can be honest with it, losing the ego as they evaluate the work as a new role. Perhaps this is the antidote to the deluge of imagery we consume, this non-stop cascade. We are engaging with something enormous, there must be a survival strategy when working as an artist - a processor if you will. Megannity references absorption not expression in this regard. We must consider how to taxonomise images and to play a part in their processing, or abstraction for us to merely survive them. It is in these taxonomies that the two artists revel. Collating images, some lived, some found, some transmuted, distorted or replicated to create a language which has no beginning or end, it is anachronistic and agnostic and provides solace, humour and empathy. As with the title for this exhibition,‘perfect passive’ is a language device used to indicate that one event happened before another, consequentially; meaning ‘together we slip’. The continual collapse of images continues and we must learn to ride in it’s ever evolving wake.