Gagosian is pleased to present 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.
Walton Ford, La Brea, 2016 (detail), watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper, in three parts, each: 60 1/2 × 119 1/2 inches (153.7 x 303.5 cm) (unframed) © Walton Ford. Photo by Christopher Burke.
“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.
Walton Ford (born 1960) grew up in the Hudson Valley and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; New York Public Library; Princeton Art Museum, New Jersey; San Antonio Museum of Art, Texas; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Visit the website for additional info about the artist and the exhibtion
On view: November 2 – December 16, 2017
Where: Gagosian, 456 North Camden Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210