Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of monumental watercolors by Walton Ford at 293 Tenth Avenue from November 12th to December 23rd, 2009.
For these new works, Ford continues his practice of expanding the visual language and narrative scope of traditional natural history painting. As in his earlier work, Ford meditates on the often violent and bizarre moments occurring at the intersection of human culture and the natural world. In a painting depicting a historical incident at the royal menagerie at the Tower of London in 1830, two Bengal tigers ensnare a snarling lion as unseen guards attempt to control and separate them with red-hot steel rods. In The Island (2009), Ford's sinking tangle of enraged wolf-like thylacines conjures the feverish paranoia that caused Tasmanian settlers to hunt the actual beasts into extinction in the 20th century. Although human figures rarely appear in his paintings, their presence is always implied. Ford's concerns do not center on animals in the wilderness–as he told Calvin Tomkins in a January 2009 New Yorker profile, "Before Fay Wray comes to Skull Island, King Kong isn't doing anything. There's no story until she shows up…. What I'm doing, I think, is a sort of cultural history of the way animals live in the human imagination."
Walton Ford was born in Larchmont, New York in 1960 and lives and works in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. A recent survey of his work was organized by the Brooklyn Museum in New York in 2006 and traveled to the San Antonio Museum of Art in Texas and the Norton Museum of Art in Florida in 2007. Over the last year, TASCHEN Books has issued three editions of his large-format monograph, Pancha Tantra. Ford's first major European exhibition will open at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin on January 23rd, 2010 and will run through May 24th, before traveling to the Albertina in Vienna from June 8th to October 3rd, 2010.