Walton Ford - Falling Bough

Shit. Honestly I thought I might have something to write about. I was going to give one of those heads up to let you know this is the last weekend to go see some shows. Then I realized it was LAST WEEKEND! At least for one of the shows. So sorry. However, that means the show I was going to recommend to you I actually saw on its last weekend, so I guess the post title still has a little bit of relevance. Clever, eh?

Okay so the image above is a painting by Walton Ford that was recently exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The image above does no justice to the painting, Falling Bough (2002), because the painting is about 3 feet by 9 feet! I mean it’s fucking massive! If I’m going to look at watercolors then I’ve decided this is how they should be: fucking massive! And Walton Ford is a bit of sinister feller. Not sinister like Bosch but sinister in such a way that you’re looking at these fucking huge delectable paintings, and then suddenly you realize something terrible and awful is about to or just did happen. If it’s still about to, there’s nothing you can do to stop it, so you might as well enjoy the aesthetics!

Sinister: in Falling Bough there are birds – turtledoves – eating other bird’s eggs; baby birds are falling out of their nests – HOW will they SURVIVE?; and of course the title: Falling Bough. The tree branch I originally thought was being carted away by these massive numbers of turtledoves, but no, the branch is falling and these birds are in a skirmish for their lives!

Lots of other great paintings by Ford, including Chingado (1998) that features a ‘Zebu or Braham cattle (Bozindicus)’ (Ford’s paintings often include bits of text overlayed throughout the paintings in pencil) whose hairs were painted in such a way that it quickly reminded me of the Ron Mueck show I just saw one floor above! Now, if you got a free weekend then my posting may still prove worthwhile: this is the last weekend for the Ron Mueck show! Go go go! It’s a particularly good selection of his work if you’re unfamiliar; some works are a bit oddly placed, behind walls and on the other sides of columns and whatnot, but such is the top floor of the BMA. I nearly missed two pieces so take your time. I’ve now seen Mueck’s work at two major museums, and both were accompanied by a documentary. If you can’t make it to the show, you can still watch this same documentary online at blip.tv.

(Quick digression: it’s a really great era when places like the BMA are linking to ‘videos’ and said content is hosted on sites like blip.tv or YouTube. This is really smart and is the web at its finest people!)

(Okay not so quick: For real, this is just smart. The BMA also have a podcast interview with Walton Ford online. Get to hear some Q&As. Elsewhere, Walton Ford was one of the artists featured in the PBS art:21 television series. On the left-hand side you can find some links to videos, including one where Walton specifically talks about Falling Bough:

It’s a dark humour but it makes me chuckle when I’m [painting]