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Hermine Ford: Toward the Beginning

Toward the Beginning (390-19), 2019, Oil paint, graphite, colored pencil on linen on shaped wood panel, 45 x 75 x ¾ in.

The New York Studio School presents Hermine Ford: Toward the Beginning, featuring new paintings and drawings, on view October 21 – December 1, 2019, with an Opening Reception on Thursday, October 24, 2019.

Hermine Ford’s unusually shaped surfaces are derived from the breakdown of built structure and reuse and recontextualization of materials throughout time. Ford’s works present as artifacts, collaged pieces of ancient broken mosaic, cave painting, or stone wall, interacting with sharp shapes in flat color. The ambiguous references create a sense of a common history, a shared experience of damage and revival, remnants of all of humanity’s enclosures and facades instead of a certain culture or epoch. The collapse of human exertion and structure is paid homage to in a poetic reassembly of forms from history and today, familiar yet reimagined.

Ford utilizes small square modules, conjuring mosaics in Pompeii and simultaneously pixels on a screen. Clusters of muted units in grays and neutrals are interrupted by large geometric shapes; skewed four-pointed stars, triangles, lopsided trapezoids. The freshness of the contemporary shaped surfaces and bold, flat color are almost at odds with the laborious tile-like detail. The works demonstrate a respect for the grid’s organizational endeavor as well as its disintegration. The shape-based works encourage a connection to large built structure, but the artist’s touch is felt in every line, mark, and surface. The collision of the two scales of marks creates a dynamic viewing experience, as ones’ eyes move frenziedly through the static-like tile, with interludes of a few prominent, toppling shapes.

The drawings offer a less polished, more automatic version of the paintings. The Paper provides a rectangle to hold the shards of form and fossilize the liquidity of the paint. As the gallery wall is activated by the shaped canvases, the space of the paper offers a contained field of play for Ford’s hand. The works in Toward the Beginning are not bashful nods at history, but bold reclamations of long kept human attempts to beautify and solidify.

in conversation with Stephanie Buhmann & Nora Griffin
Monday, November 25, 6:30pm

Press Release


Exhibition booklet with text by Adam Zagajewski, William Benton, and Nora Griffin


Hermine Ford’s Exquisite Poise, by Jonathan Stevenson, Two Coats of Paint

Two Coats Selected Gallery Guide: November 2019



Snapshots From NYSS

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