Walton Ford, American, born 1960
Six-plate aquatint etching with drypoint, hard ground, soft ground, spit bite
Plate: 11 7/8 × 8 15/16 in. (30.2 × 22.7 cm)
Sheet: 18 7/16 × 14 in. (46.8 × 35.6 cm)
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Miriam H. and S. Sidney Stoneman Acquisition Fund
© Image courtesy the artist, Kasmin Gallery and Wingate Studios
Place Made: United States, North America
Not on view
Signed, lower right, in graphite: W Ford 2019; numbered, lower left, in graphite: PP 1
Representing artistic depictions of birds spanning over 100 years, these three works reflect the multiple and sometimes fraught relationships between human and non-human beings. Within Acoma and other Pueblo communities, birds—and in this case the parrot or macaw—have long served as connections between people and the gods who live in the upper or sky world. Birds, which can carry messages or prayers for rain, are often depicted on ollas or water jars like the one here, marking a connection between the object’s form and its function.
Walton Ford is known for his meticulously executed images of animals in a style resembling John James Audubon’s naturalistic scenes, such as the wrens at the right of this grouping, with a critical twist. Ford’s print on the left depicts crimson-capped acorn woodpeckers guarding their cache of acorns as the Hollywood Hills are threatened by wildfire. Unlike Robert Havell’s print made from an original drawing by Audubon, Ford’s rendering is more than observational or aesthetic; it gives agency to the avian actors within his complex visual narrative.
From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art
This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, April 12 - July 22, 2022.
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