COMA is pleased to present a viewing room of new body work by JD Reforma, currently included in the group presentation ‘Like a Wheel That Turns: The 2022 Macfarlane Commissions‘ at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) in Melbourne, Australia, continuing through 4 September 2022.
Fibre optics; an intranet of virtue is an installation encompassing 85 paintings – canvases handmade from raw coconut fibres and individually painted with text. These texts reveal the intersections of thought that weave throughout my practice, while also reframing the dominance of European frameworks of materiality in contemporary painting practice. An aphorism is defined as a ‘pithy observation’ – it is this ‘pith’ that I aim to underline in these works, an enmeshing of material and idea.
The canvases are produced through a felting technique that I have developed through ongoing experimentation with coconuts, and the various raw materials into which they may be distilled – shell, meat, and husk. I’m interested in coconuts because of their anthropomorphic qualities – as well as having a ‘face’, they also contain meat, pores, hair and bone. I’m also drawn to their itinerant materiality – as a species, they float via ocean and sea and establish new territories – they are both a colonising force and a diaspora. Felting is a way of alluding to the networks, roots, and rhizomes laid and traced by these migrations. Enmeshed and entwined, the individual coconut fibres create a surface, a plane, that imitates canvas while foregrounding its texture and porosity.
The texts that appear on these canvases are reflections on power, class, and race, but also the ennui, precarity, and fatigue that is both the material and byproduct of these discourses. Others are more abstract: unrelated, unrefined, unfinished thoughts and ideas. I’ve collated them throughout my practice – from movies, books, televisions shows, social media, conversations, observations, everywhere – and dutifully recorded them in a notes file on my phone. Here I’ve reassembled them into diptychs, triptychs, lines and grids, that may be read simultaneously as thoughts, constellations and sentences.
– JD Reforma
“I’m also drawn to their itinerant materiality – as a species, they float via ocean and sea and establish new territories – they are both a colonising force and a diaspora.”
– JD Reforma