Monday, December 20, 2010

Gordon Onslow Ford - A Presence Among Us In New York

For the first time since 1946 an exhibition of Gordon Onslow Ford's work is available for viewing in New York City:  The exhibition will continue until Christmas Eve.

Ford is a key link between the European surrealism which originated well before World War II, and the New York School of painting which flourished in the immediate aftermath of that war. He is a member of a select group of figures who were able to exemplify and document noteworthy transitions between phases of their art -- examples in other fields are Hardy in literature and Busoni in music.  Such figures tend to be under appreciated for a time (perhaps because of the intellectual complexity entailed in defining their roles), then gradually acquire standing among connoisseurs over multiple generations.

Among the thirty one works - the large (46" x 60") Temptations of the Painter made an especially powerful, indeed visceral impression on me, with its sense of inexorable motion and the prospect of an alternative world caught in mid creation.  Ford also developed an incandescent style -- I was especially taken with Lunelipse (1951) and The Painter and the Muse (1943) in this regard.


for Martica Sawin's book, including extensive critical notes as well as the 1941 New School Lectures delivered by Ford.

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