Paintings by Walton Ford
Essay by Bill Buford
TASCHEN, Cologne, 2009, English, French, and German
Nonfiction, Art and Cultural History
ISBN: 9783822852378

From the Publisher. Walton Ford’s life-sized watercolors of animals could be mistaken for 19th-century natural-science illustrations or British colonial paintings. Except they’re not. Something strange and usually sinister is happening in each of Ford’s works, whether it’s a turkey crushing a small parrot with its claw, a collection of monkeys wreaking havoc on a formally set dinner table, or a buffalo surrounded by a pack of bloodied white wolves… in the middle of a proper French garden. Executed with the deft skill of a natural-history artist, Ford’s works vibrate with an intensity of uncanny familiarity; they are both reassuring in style and disturbing in content. With titles like Au Revoir Zaire, Dirty Dick Burton’s Aide de Camp, and Space Monkey, his paintings not only blur the lines between human and animal history, but also open the doors to a world of real-life fantasy, dreams, and nightmares.

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George Yabu

Growing up, I always had a fascination with exotic animal and plant life, as depicted in natural history and botanical drawings that are primarily, still-life portraits of the subject matter. Ford’s watercolor paintings go beyond these scientific and academic portrayals. They burst with saturated color and are richly detailed; often capturing the visceral interactions between species within the animal kingdom. You may witness the terror and stress from the confrontation between a jaguar and a buffalo, but closer inspection reveals there is more to it than basic animal instinct and its natural order.

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