Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra
Walton Ford's art is deserving of a great book, and I'm happy to see Taschen Books take the time and care to present the work of Walton Ford in such a high quality art and collector’s edition. ABOUT THE BOOK: Walton Ford’s life-sized watercolors of animals could be mistaken for 19th-century natural-science illustrations or British colonial paintings. Except they’re not. Something strange and usually sinister is happening in each of Ford’s works, whether it’s a turkey crushing a small parrot with its claw, a collection of monkeys wreaking havoc on a formally set dinner table, or a buffalo surrounded by a pack of bloodied white wolves… in the middle of a proper French garden. Executed with the deft skill of a natural-history artist, Ford’s works vibrate with an intensity of uncanny familiarity; they are both reassuring in style and disturbing in content. With titles like Au Revoir Zaire, Dirty Dick Burton’s Aide de Camp, and Space Monkey, his paintings not only blur the lines between human and animal history, but also open the doors to a world of real-life fantasy, dreams, and nightmares. For this hand-crafted, limited-edition volume, Ford’s paintings have been color-separated and reproduced in Pan4C, the finest reproduction technique available today, providing unequalled intensity and color range. The book includes 12 horizontal and 4 vertical foldouts, along with dozens of details, which present the work at a scale that practically allows the viewer to enter the ancient and peopled landscapes, feel the brush of a bird’s feathers against flesh, and experience the hot breath of a wild cat about to go for the jugular. Collected together for the first ever in-depth exploration of Walton Ford’s œuvre, Ford’s bestiary takes its name from one of the texts he frequently cites in his work: The Pancha Tantra, the ancient Indian book of animal folktales collected from the 3rd to 5th centuries B.C. that is considered to be the precursor to Aesop’s Fables. Stories derived from many of the texts that served as the germinal seed for these paintings fill the book’s appendix; and an original essay by New Yorker staff writer Bill Buford substantiates the notion that this contemporary artist is more than just one to watch, but one who will stand the test of time. Available in an Art and a Collector’s Edition, Walton Ford: Pancha Tantra is limited to a total of 1,600 copies, signed by the artist and presented in a custom clamshell box.