Approaching the Contemporary October 4, 2012 | By Jim McNutt
A recent Phaidon interview quotes painter Walton Ford as saying that his aim is to build “a sort of cultural history of the way animals live in the human imagination.” This is a striking departure from artists’ statements that focus on their ability to accurately represent the world as it exists. It also encompasses the interpretive, perspective-jarring, see-the-world-in-a-different-way point of view that makes a painting of a turkey, for example, the idea of the artist, regardless of the accuracy of the image.
Both Ford and another contemporary artist, Penelope Gottlieb, have produced striking images that say “Audubon” to many viewers.
Together with Audubon himself, the cultural history that Ford seeks to create shows itself very well in these images. How would you write that history?