Symbolism Used in Walton Ford’s Watercolors

Walton Ford’s watercolor is a fascinating blend of realism and symbolism, depicting poignant and thought-provoking messages. His watercolors feature imagery from the natural world, religion, and political and social themes. Walton Ford art contains watercolors to create a sense of the mythic in everyday situations. One of the fascinating aspects of his work is the way he uses symbolism to create narratives that are open to interpretation, and that can be explored endlessly. Here are five symbols used in Walton Ford’s watercolors: 

1. Historical References 

Walton Ford incorporates historical references in his artwork. Ford takes inspiration from European artists of the past, such as John James Audubon and George Catlin. He incorporates their concepts and practices into his work. He uses watercolor to make references to historical events. Ford intends to make viewers reflect on how global events in the past still impact the present. Historical references serve as a lens through which viewers of his art can explore various themes. These themes include imperialism, colonialism, environmental degradation, and the intricate relationship between the natural world and humans. 

2. Animal Symbolism 

Walton Ford art uses animals as symbols. He uses animals like elephants, tigers, monkeys, and birds to convey themes associated with nature and the environment. The elephant in his work depicts majesty, strength, and wisdom. In the context of colonialism and environmental concern, the elephant symbolizes the impact of human activities on wildlife and the delicate balance within the ecological system. Through the use of wild animals in his paintings, Walton invites the viewer to consider the broader narrative and theme linked with the environment, nature, and human society. 

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3. Language and Text 

The use of language and text in Ford’s watercolor paintings enhances the conceptual, symbolic, and narrative dimensions of his art. Ford’s watercolors often contain ornate texts, which add to the intrigue of the artwork. It also reinforces the idea that art is communication. Ford’s use of language amplifies storytelling within each watercolor painting. This invites viewers to unravel the narratives and engage with broader philosophical, cultural, and ecological themes hidden in his artwork. By incorporating language and text in his art, Ford intertwines the visual and linguistic, creating a dialogue between image and meaning. 

4. Color

Ford uses color as a symbol and expressive tool to convey meaning, evoke emotions, and enhance the emotions of his art. The use of earth tones and natural colors such as green and brown suggest that the artist is trying to ground his work in nature and the real world. The choice of color in his watercolor paintings can contribute to the overall impact of his composition.

5. An Airship

In his painting “The Graf Zeppelin (2014)” Ford delves into the story of a female gorilla, Susie. In this art, Ford uses the image of an airship to symbolize the period of transformation in history and the intersection of animal and human experiences. The painting centers around a female gorilla, Susie, transported to the United States using a German airship Graf Zeppelin. This airship became a potent emblem of technological advancement, exploration, and the complex dynamic between the natural world and humans. Ford’s depiction of Susie mid-flight elevates the airship beyond its normal role. It represents the transmission of a poignant narrative.

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Learn More About Walton Ford Art

Walton Ford’s artwork is a masterful and profound examination of our relationship with the natural world and concepts such as politics, religion, history, and mythology. In his artwork, he incorporates complex symbolism that can be studied in each painting. His paintings showcase a way of looking at the world that is both sobering and enlightening. By looking at the mesmerizing work of Walton Ford, one can gain insight into the interplay between art and representation. Find a gallery showcasing his work to learn more.