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Walton Ford

Calafia

November 2–December 16, 2017
Beverly Hills

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation view

Artwork © Walton Ford. Photo: Jeff McLane

Installation video

Installation video

Works Exhibited

Walton Ford, Isla de California, 2017 Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper mounted on aluminum panel, 108 × 144 inches (274.3 × 365.8 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging

Walton Ford, Isla de California, 2017

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper mounted on aluminum panel, 108 × 144 inches (274.3 × 365.8 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging

Walton Ford, Grifo de California, 2017 Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, 60 ¼ × 83 ¾ inches (153 × 212.7 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, Grifo de California, 2017

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, 60 ¼ × 83 ¾ inches (153 × 212.7 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, Ars Gratia Artis, 2017 Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, 60 ¼ × 119 ¼ inches (153 × 302.9 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging

Walton Ford, Ars Gratia Artis, 2017

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, 60 ¼ × 119 ¼ inches (153 × 302.9 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Tom Powel Imaging

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail) Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail)

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail) Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail)

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail) Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail)

Watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, In three parts, each: 60 ½ × 119 ½ inches (153.7 × 303.5 cm)
© Walton Ford. Photo: Christopher Burke

About

It’s a sort of attraction/repulsion thing, beautiful to begin with until you notice that some sort of horrible violence is about to happen, or is in the middle of happening.
―Walton Ford

Gagosian is pleased to present Calafia, new watercolor paintings by Walton Ford. This is his first exhibition with the gallery.

Ford’s work explores where natural history and human culture intersect. His large-scale, empirically precise, and highly detailed paintings consider the drama and history of animals as they exist in the human imagination, revealing the deeply intertwined relationships between nature and civilization. Using the visual language and medium of nineteenth-century naturalist illustrators such as John James Audubon, Ford masters the aesthetics of scientific truth only to amplify and subvert them, creating provocative and sometimes fanciful narratives out of facts.

Calafia comprises a new series of epic paintings in which Ford depicts California through an amalgam of its myths, legends, and folklore. In a sixteenth-century novel, Las sergas de Esplandían (The Adventures of Esplandian), the Castilian author Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo wrote of a fictitious island inhabited by enormous flying griffins. On this island lived a tribe of Amazons, ruled by a warrior queen named Calafia. When the Spanish sailed up the western coast of North America, they named the land after this same imaginary island they had read about—thus fiction became history.

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