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Walton Ford

Walton Ford, Grifo de California, 2017 Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, Framed: 68 ½ × 91 ½ × 2 ½ inches (174 × 232.4 × 6.4 cm)© Walton Ford, photo by Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, Grifo de California, 2017

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, Framed: 68 ½ × 91 ½ × 2 ½ inches (174 × 232.4 × 6.4 cm)
© Walton Ford, photo by Christopher Burke

About

Walton Ford’s expansive watercolor paintings appropriate the informative detail and narrative scope of traditional natural history art only to subvert its conventions. Ford draws on his extensive research into disparate visual and written sources, including naturalists’ illustrations and dioramas, scientific field studies, explorers’ accounts, and zookeepers’ manuals, as well as fables and mythology, historical art, and Hollywood movies. Imaginatively interpreting events rooted in these materials, he frequently inscribes the paintings with marginal texts that provide additional glosses of meaning. Representing touchpoints of cultural and natural history, he alludes to colonialism, extinction, and the ecological consequences of the Anthropocene epoch, tempering his works’ violence, tragedy, and eulogies for the natural world with moments of wit and satire.

Ford was born in 1960 and grew up in the Hudson Valley, New York. Today, he lives and works in New York City. He attended the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, graduating in 1982.

In the early 1990s, Ford began incorporating the imagery of natural history illustration into his work. This approach was catalyzed in 1994 when he spent several months in India and began painting indigenous birds while thinking about the impact of global colonialism, leading him to a sustained reflection on wildlife and historical allegory that would form the core of his project.

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Fairs, Events & Announcements

Sarah Sze, Left Field (Times Zero), 2019 © Sarah Sze

Art Fair

Art Basel Miami Beach 2022

December 1–3, 2022, Booth D5
Miami Beach Convention Center
artbasel.com

Gagosian is pleased to present a selection of modern and contemporary works at Art Basel Miami Beach 2022. Returning to Miami for the fair’s twentieth anniversary, the gallery is honored to have participated each year the fair has been held.

Sarah Sze, Left Field (Times Zero), 2019 © Sarah Sze

Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra (New York: Taschen, 2020)

Book Signing

Walton Ford
Pancha Tantra

Saturday, August 27, 2022, 3pm
Taschen Store, East Hampton, New York
www.taschen.com

Walton Ford will sign copies of the updated edition of his book Pancha Tantra (2020). The most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, the expanded publication features forty new works, more than 120 additional pages, and a new essay by the artist. These appear alongside a text by Bill Buford, excerpts from Ford’s textual inspirations—including Indian folktales, the letters of Benjamin Franklin, and The Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini—and a complete biography of the artist. The event is free and open to the public.

Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra (New York: Taschen, 2020)

Installation view, Walton Ford, Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street, New York, March 11–April 23, 2022. Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Rob McKeever

In Conversation

New Social Environment
Cabeza de Vaca: Walton Ford

Tuesday, April 5, 2022, 1pm EDT

As part of the Brooklyn Rail’s online series New Social Environment, Walton Ford joins the journal’s editor-at-large Jason Rosenfeld for a conversation about the artist’s current eponymous exhibition at Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street, New York, as well as his practice in general. In these daily lunchtime Zoom conversations, invited artists, writers, filmmakers, and poets discuss creative life in the context of our new social reality with Brooklyn Rail staff. The talk will conclude with a poetry reading by Lee Ann Norman. To join the online event, register at brooklynrail.org.

Installation view, Walton Ford, Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street, New York, March 11–April 23, 2022. Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Rob McKeever

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Museum Exhibitions

Walton Ford, Study for Distinguished Stranger, 2022 © Walton Ford

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Walton Ford in
Symbiosis: Part 1

June 10–July 24, 2022
Berkshire Botanical Garden, Stockbridge, Massachusetts
russ-berkshirebg.pantheonsite.io

Aiming to aesthetically incorporate artworks into the Berkshire Botanical Garden, Symbiosis sites works both outdoors within in the landscape and indoors in the Leonhardt Galleries. The exhibition focuses on the interaction between two organisms that mutually benefit each other, while also speaking in a greater sense about the interconnectivity of all living things. Work by Walton Ford is included.

Walton Ford, Study for Distinguished Stranger, 2022 © Walton Ford

Walton Ford, Grifo de California, 2017 © Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

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Book of Beasts
The Bestiary in the Medieval World

May 14–August 18, 2019
Getty Center, Los Angeles
www.getty.edu

This exhibition is inspired by The Bestiary, a popular medieval book that describes the beasts of the world with vibrant and fascinating images. With over one hundred works on display, this major loan exhibition transports visitors into the world of the medieval bestiary. Work by Walton Ford and Damien Hirst is included.

Walton Ford, Grifo de California, 2017 © Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke