Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Featuring: Walton Ford

Thought I'd mention an interesting synchronicity in relation to the previous feature I posted for Titan's Goblet by Thomas Cole. When I was at the museum last weekend, for some reason I happened to mention to the guard that classic paintings seemed to have an underlying quality that was missing from the modern art on display and that I'd all but given up checking out the whole contemporary wing of the museum. He mentioned I might be interested in a work by Walton Ford they had recently installed on the top floor, so I thanked him & went up to check it out. The work was titled: Gleipnir, and features a striking wolf in huge proportion to the rest of the landscape; it reminded me of the surreal impression from mixing proportions in Titan's Goblet by Thomas Cole. (The image in real life is enormous - it took up a whole wall.)

Gleipnir by Walton Ford

I went home & looked up an interview with Walton Ford on Art21, he actually described the Hudson River School style of painting (which Thomas Cole started) as inspiration for the backdrop for some of his work. Intriguing coincidence! Thought the rest of his interview was very thought provoking as well, so wanted to pass it along. I am more and more inspired by these aspects of storytelling through imagery. I want to start experimenting with this more myself.

It's so encouraging to see some contemporary art that is more than a haphazard mash-up of imagery that I find in most modern exhibits. I mean, to some extent you could frame a picture of anything, or put any object on a pedestal and if you as a viewer are poetic enough, you could interpret something about the nature of the universe. But that defers nearly all interpretation of meaning and significance to the viewer. At that point, people could learn just as much taking a walk anywhere and reflecting on their own surroundings. If something is in a museum and labeled 'art', I do appreciate some level of structure and intent from the perspective of the artist. (Maybe most contemporary 'art' would be better served in some other format, like an essay. The random imagery just doesn't do it for me, anyway.) I found the work from Walton Ford to be a breath of fresh air & hope you find the links worthwhile.

Walton Ford feature at the Paul Kasmin Gallery
Art21 feature of Walton Ford
Walton Ford - Wikipedia

Incidentally, this 'Likes' section I started is a bit more complicated then I thought due to copyright concerns for artists within the past 100 years. I just wanted to show a small sample of other people's work & comment on it; but am not sure the proper way to do it. I think (hope) I might be able to take pictures of some books I have for future posts and work it in that way.

BTW, for photographers out there, I found it interesting looking at the classic paintings in grayscale to study the underlying structure of the images you find most successful. (You could use a computer to desaturate a color image, or I've been using a handheld B+W viewer either at the museum or my own art books). As George DeWolfe suggested, there definitely seems to be something the classic painters figured out either consciously or intuitively about how to construct their images using a strong understanding of grayscale tones to separate and relate objects to each other.

by Laura A Knauth

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