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Two Mediums, One World - Go To Introduction
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11. Hermine Ford, untitled, 2006 and 12. John Newman, black glass clamped down, 1998
11. Hermine Ford, untitled, 2006
ink, gouache, watercolor color pencil and graphite on paper
22 x 30
12. John Newman, black glass clamped down, 1998
hot sculpted glass, felt, steel, papier mache, string, chalk
27 x 25 x 11
Although one is a painter and the other a sculptor, Hermine Ford and John Newman share a great deal of artistic territory. In the course of art history, there have been many instances of sculptors and painters working in similar manners. Think, for instance, of Medardo Rosso, whose wax and plaster figures display affinities with Impressionist painting or how the colorful crushed-metal sculptures of John Chamberlain resemble the similarly dense, jagged and explosively hued abstractions of Joan Mitchell. The nature of Ford and Newmanís affinity is no less concrete but it occurs not in the realm of stylistic resemblance but at a deeper, more purely structural level.
As has long been the case in Fordís work, her recent paintings are made on irregularly shaped supports (in this case, pieces of thin plywood covered with linen) rather than on the rectilinear geometry of the conventional stretched canvas. Within these multi-faceted shapes, which resemble the shardlike remains of some shattered and dispersed whole, Ford delineates smaller, similarly irregular shapes that she fills with varieties of intricate patterning. (She also makes shaped drawings with similar formats, as well as drawings on standard rectangular paper.)
One of the recurring patterns involves long and short segments of three or four parallel lines that seem to weave over and under one another. Painted in hues of reddish brown or dark green, these lines suggest an enlarged view of a piece of fabric. In fact, they are closely based on the designs of Mbuti Pygmy women of the Ituri Forest in Zaire, who are known for their barkcloth paintings and drawings. The colors Ford uses echo the plant-based mediums employed by the Mbuti. Also Pygmy-derived is another set of subsections in which dots and lines create netlike patterns of three- four- and five-sided shapes, some of which Ford fills in with solid colors. Other sections follow a stricter geometry, as in patterns made from concentric bands of tiny red, green, yellow and white triangles. These areas derive from Italian mosaics, as do the somewhat more loosely painted sections where Ford deploys countless, quasi-Pointillistic daubs of constantly modulating paint. The densest sections, which are the product of the artistís own fertile visual lexicon, feature an underlying layer of inked lines, over which Ford lays plantlike networks of color. In conjunction, these various zones offer a veritable encyclopedia of painterly options and a beautifully complex spatial topography.

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4. Hermine Ford, untitled (06-#4), 2006
ink, oil on linen on birch plywood   40 1/2 x 18
4. Hermine Ford, untitled (06-#4), 2006
ink, oil on linen on birch plywood 40 1/2 x 18
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