Studio visit: Hermine Ford’s order and disruption

Contributed by Jonathan Stevenson / Hermine Ford’s Tribeca loft, which she and her husband, painter Robert Moscovitz, purchased decades ago, comprises their home and her studio. The space radiates art. Her father was abstract expressionist Jack Tworkov, and the living room’s centerpiece is a magisterial Tworkov painting. The adjacent studio, though, is strictly Ford’s domain. Innovative and expansive on multiple levels – line, color, shape, surface – her own work is uniquely prepossessing and only rewards further contemplation. Building irregularly shaped, sometimes even jagged, oil paintings from exquisite smaller watercolor studies (one is pictured above), Ford forges subtle connections that may at first seem fanciful, yet are grounded in real-world blessings and fears.

In one of several new paintings (image above), she flanks a fragmented yellow-and-black panel reminiscent of Cold War fallout shelter signage with a star-shaped section resembling a remnant of a delicately tiled palazzo and another depicting a damaged array of god’s eyes. One possible interpretation: disparate places and cultures connected through shared vulnerability and foreboding.

In another compelling work (above), what looks like a checkered flag for a Grand Prix winner overlaps a shaped piece simulating a woven swatch, shaken up by brightly colored shapes erratically positioned. The painting seems to pair the fast and the slow, cosmopolitan indulgence and rustic stoicism – the wildcard colors being reminders that the world is more rich and complicated than such simple juxtapositions might imply. The most uniform of the recent paintings (below), in seductively calming beige, gray, and white, suggests satellite reconnaissance for military targeting across an unfolded Mercator projection – or, less ominously, global aerial views of irrigation systems.

Contemporary events and arrangements as well as salient history – 9/11 and the arc of Roman civilization, for instance – inform Ford’s sensibility. (She and Moscovitz spend part of the year in Italy.) What emerges are striking shaped canvases of unostentatious magnificence that impart her deep appreciation for enduring order, its inevitable disruption, and its probable re-establishment. In that there is intelligent, unblinkered hope suited to a world in need of it. Clearly Ford is on her way to a grand solo exhibition.

 A wall of watercolor studies.

Related posts:
Thinking about Paris: The life of Gustave Moreau
Hermine Ford’s enchantment (2011)
Barry Reigate’s political geometry

 

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Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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