Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford
- Dates: November 3, 2006 through January 28, 2007
- Organizing Department: Prints, Drawings and Photographs
- Collections: Contemporary Art
- Location: This exhibition is no longer on view in Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 4th Floor
- Description: Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford. [11/03/2006 - 01/28/2007]. Installation view.
- Citation: Brooklyn Museum Digital Collections and Services. Records of the Department of Digital Collections and Services. (DIG_E_2006_Ford)
- Source: born digital
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April 2006: More than fifty of Walton Ford’s meticulously rendered, large-scale watercolors of vividly imagined birds, animals, and flora will be on view in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum from November 3, 2006, through January 28, 2007. Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford, which will tour to venues to be announced, comprises watercolors created between 1990 and the present exploring such themes as colonialism, the naturalist tradition, and the extinction of species.
Using the animal kingdom as a mirror of the human world, Ford employs his skill as an artist and observer to communicate his views on society. In The Starling, 2002, he depicts an enormous European starling presiding over a desert-like landscape and being fed by exotic birds from around the world. In Passenger Pigeons of Falling Bough, 2002, Ford presents a massive flock of the squabbling birds perched on a bough that has broken under their weight.
Also included in the exhibition are Dirty Dick Burton’s Aide de Camp, 2002, in which a monkey represents the nineteenth-century naturalist Richard Burton, who employed primates in his house to learn their language; Jack on His Deathbed, 2005, in which the primate is a stand-in for the eighteenth-century British ambassador to Naples, Sir William Hamilton, a diplomat who owned a pet monkey; and Delirium, 2004, which makes reference to John James Audubon’s practice of killing animals in order to study them more closely. In this image the golden eagle, still attached to a trap, flies to freedom, while the tiny figure of Audubon lies flat in the snow below.
Ford drew his early inspiration from the work of nineteenth-century artist and naturalist John James Audubon—particularly his prodigious Birds of America series–as well as from visits to the American Museum of Natural History. Other influences include J.J. Grandville and Sir John Tenniel, the French artists whose caricatures of part-human, part-animal subjects satirized nineteenth-century French and British society; Edward Lear, an artist and writer known for his nonsensical poetry and limericks; George Catlin, a self-taught painter of Native Americans; and Francisco Goya, the Spanish artist working at the turn of the nineteenth-century.
Born in Larchmont, New York, in 1960, Walton Ford is a 1982 graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design.
He is the recipient of several national awards and honors including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Tigers of Wrath: Watercolors by Walton Ford is organized by Marilyn Kushner, Chair and Curator, Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Brooklyn Museum.
The exhibition is made possible in part by Bloomberg, with additional support from the Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Council of the Brooklyn Museum.