Geofrey Farquhar-Still takes a deceptively playful look at the popular appeal of war in contemporary culture.
Since graduating from the National Institute of the Arts in 2002, Farquhar-Still has exhibited in a range of public art events and interstate group shows. His work has been acquired by major private, corporate and government collections such as Qantas and the Australian War Memorial. He compliments his full time making with a part time teaching role in the Sculpture Department at the Australian National University.
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My Private arsenal is a deceptively playful look at the popular appeal of war in contemporary culture. Exploiting the hyper-real graphics of comic book illustrations and the inflated contours of water pistols, Farquhar-Still transforms children’s toys into disturbing statements about our penchant for conflict.
My Private Arsenal brings together themes and materials I have explored since graduating in 2002. This exhibition evolved out of my interest in the relationship between contemporary conflicts, the media and the public’s perception of war. Materially, the show combines traditional hand made skills and industrial processes, utilising cast concrete, stainless steel and routed skyscraper cladding.
Wall panels: The router drawings are composites, utilising images gathered from comic books, news media and the internet which are cut, pasted and manipulate before being transferred onto the surface of aluminium panels in a cohesive and integrated form. The industrial panelling material is commonly used in cladding modern high rise buildings, a logic which has been subverted into a critique of the idea of facades and what lies behind them. The images ask us to question the information which we receive, the source of that information and what agendas may be behind what is presented as fact.
Sculpture: The cast concrete guns are direct casts of children’s super soaker toys which, when rendered in concrete, lose their plastic fluorescence and become silent, menacing expressions of power. Their presentation makes use of museological styles, alluding to their potential as archaeological objects and the indications those object make about what is important to our society.
This body of work is part of an ongoing investigation into western society’s perceptions of war and the power the media has to influence how events are perceived and, ultimately, how they play out on the world stage.