Walton Ford is a well known American contemporary artist based in New York. His large scale watercolor and gouache paintings take inspiration from the intricately detailed paintings by 19th century naturalists like John James Audubon.
Walton takes that genre’s conventions as a launching point for his excursions into oblique cultural and historic commentary on colonialism, industrialization and political aspects of the human condition.
Ford also changes the context of his subject by painting them at a dramatically larger scale, as well as including references to odd historical and pop cultural incidents and figures. You can get an idea of the scale of some of his work in the view of his painting “I don’t like to look at him, Jack” in his studio (images above, bottom two).
Ford also works in multi-plate etching as well as painting. These is a collection of his work, Pancha Tantra, published by Taschen.
His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Walton Ford: Watercolors is an exhibition now on display at the Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York that runs to June 21, 2014.
As far as I know, Ford does not have a dedicated web presence.
Walton Ford: Watercolors, to 6/21/14
Article on Elle
Article on The New Yorker
Article on New York magazine
Video on YouTube, and here
Video on PBS
Video on UVU
Pancha Tantra, Amazon
Pancha Tentra, Taschen
Bio on Wikipedia
4 Replies to “Walton Ford”
Charley – are you aware of anybody doing any larger (than this) water media work? The scale is amazing.
I’ve encountered individual cases, both contemporary and historic, of relatively large scale water media (watercolor, gouache), but I can’t say I’ve seen bigger examples than these (unless you count frescoes, egg tempera or acrylic as water media).
I was pretty impressed, too. Most of these say “watercolor, gouache and ink on paper”. The Kong piece, and two other Kong paintings in the gallery at that size, are listed as “…on paper mounted on aluminum panel”, so it they be the largest of the lot: http://www.paulkasmingallery.com/artists/walton-ford/4 Some of the more severely rectangular pieces are similar in width, but not height.
These are stunning–the combination of traditional naturalist images with social commentary is arresting, and the scale is unbelievable. How do you even paint that large? Do a couple of brushstrokes and back up the length of a football field to see if it worked? Awe-some.
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