In my work, I have chosen to deal with the cultural history of animals—how wild animals have interacted with humans and human culture over time, and how humans have imbued certain creatures with such potent symbolism – Walton Ford
There are few human figures in the works of Walton Ford, yet his works reflect the relationship between humans and animals and how, most often, that interaction has been devastating for the animals.
Walton Ford was born in Parchment, New York in 1960. Ford has been drawing and painting since he was a young child, influenced by trips through the wilderness with his father and the works of the diorama artists at New York’s Museum of Natural History.
Ford’s works are included in many major private and public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. A retrospective of his works traveled from the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Fur Gegenwart in Berlin, to the Albertina in Vienna and to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in 2010 and 2011. Ford was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Musée de la Chasse in Paris in 2015.
La Historia Me Absolverá at the Surovek Gallery
Like his other paintings, much thought and research has gone into La Historia Me Absolverá, which tells the story of the Cuban red macaw, a species of macaw that was native to Cuba and became extinct in the nineteenth century.
The Cuban red macaw was hunted and traded by Europeans who arrived in Cuba in the fifteenth century. Some of the macaws were brought to Europe to be kept as cage birds. Over time, hunting, trading and destruction of their habitat, rendered the Cuban red macaw extinct.
The title of Walton Ford’s painting, La Historia Me Absolverá, which translates as History will absolve me, refers to the closing line of a four-hour speech delivered by Fidel Castro in 1953, while defending himself in court against charges brought against him for an attack he led on an army barracks.
Like the red Cuban macaw, Fidel Castro was a dying breed, who had numerous attempts on his life. In Ford’s work, the macaw is portrayed grasping tightly to a broken tree branch, similar to the grip that Fidel Castro had on the troubled island that he ruled.
La Historia Me Absolverá is a wonderful example of the artistry and passion of Walton Ford.
Walton Ford Works at the Surovek Gallery
Please contact us if you would like more information about La Historia Me Absolverá or any of the other fine works available at the Surovek Gallery.
Jason Rosenfeld. In Conversation: Walton Ford with Jason Rosenfeld. The Brooklyn Rail. November 2, 2017.
Lucy Jakub. Walton Ford: Twenty-First-Century Naturalist. New York Review of Books. December 16, 2018.