Walton Ford's paintings have the layers of classical landscape , Audubon images and the tension in process destruction that makes us wait- want to watch wondering what will happen next. Beautifully crafted and a direct reference to the early modern work of Audubon and other documentary landscape and animal paintings -visually rich, active images hold the eye there to watch, to anticipate. History is never innocent in the world of Walton Ford’s wildlife watercolors and prints. Ford’s animals are frozen in devilish acts that range from violent to simply mean-spirited, and sometimes, in parodies of famous paintings. The fantastical combination of a historical style with comic or disturbing content makes these works pointed political commentaries about international policies, the environment, and human. Within Ford’s lexicon of what he gladly terms “fake natural history” animal species become allegories for nations, and his style is a shorthand critique of political and social issues rooted in the past, most explicitly the colonization of Africa and India by western Europe. By using animals for sociopolitical critique and commentary, Ford consciously follows in the footsteps of fifteenth-century artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Albrecht Dürer.
read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/22/arts/design/22gran.html