Friday, September 24, 2010

Walter Ford Art: 21

I love his twisted take on Audubon and nature painters. From Wikipedia:

Walton Ford (born 1960) is an American artist who paints large scale watercolors in the style of Audubon's naturalist illustrations. Each painting is a meticulous study in flora and fauna, while being filled with symbols, clues and jokes referencing a multitude of texts from colonial literature and folktales to travel guides. Ford's paintings are complex narratives that critique the history of colonialism, industrialism, politics, natural science, and man's effect on the environment.

Walton Ford appropriates the crisp, descriptive style of 19th-century naturalists and artists—John James Audubon, Karl Bodmer, George Catlin—but he puts their conventions to work in an investigation of natural history itself.

Repurposing a field-guide aesthetic, Ford composes dense allegories that make sometimes pointed, sometimes sidelong allusions to everything from conservationism and consumption to war, politics and imperialism.

While staying uncannily faithful to the natural history mode, Ford paints on a much larger scale, producing outsize watercolors with epic compositions. He renders his scenes with operatic drama, capturing moments when the natural order changes, such as the last member of a species struggling just before extinction.”[1]

Walton Ford is the recipient of several national awards and honors including a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts and is one of the artists profiled on the PBS series Art:21. He had his first major one-man show at the Brooklyn Museum in 2006 and is currently represented by the Paul Kasmin Gallery in Manhattan.

After living in New York City for more than 10 years, Ford moved his family and studio to Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

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