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Walton Ford


Paul Kasmin (10th Avenue)
293 Tenth Avenue, 212-563-4474
May 8 - July 3, 2008
Web Site

Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present an upcoming exhibition of Walton Ford’s recent watercolors. This will be Ford’s first exhibition with the gallery since his traveling retrospective, Tigers of Wrath, and the publication of Pancha Tantra, a comprehensive monograph of his work.

With meticulous detail, Ford’s work depicts animals embodying degrees of personification in the context of isolated historical events. Transient moments recalled in Ford’s work comment on, in his words, “the cultural history of our relationship with animals.” Ford is especially interested in the perceptions of animals by humans as evidenced by documentation. After researching specific stories, Ford offers his interpretation—sometimes exaggerating the animal’s supposed humanness and in other instances, stripping the animal of imposed metaphors, and thereby restoring the candor of the animal’s bestial state. The anthropomorphic nature of Ford’s animals is often compared to the work of artist, John J. Audubon, one of Ford’s many influences.

Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros, shown above, references the story of a rhinoceros that was illustrated by Dürer in 1515. After the rhinoceros died in a ship wreck en route from Lisbon to Pope Leo X, Dürer produced a woodcut of the animal based on an unknown draftsman’s brief description and sketch. Ironically, subsequent illustrations of rhinoceroses bore resemblance to Dürer’s fanciful print for nearly three centuries. In Loss of the Lisbon Rhinoceros Ford shows us the doomed rhinoceros that Dürer never saw at the moment it passed from a living animal into a mythic, art historical image. This piece will be on view alongside several other recent paintings by Ford.

Walton Fords work may be found in a number of collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
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