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Laura Ford: Days of Judgement 24 November 2012 - 3 February 2013
Laura Ford, Days of Judgement Cat 1, bronze, 2012, 106 x 203 x 100cm
Laura Ford:
Days of Judgement

24 November 2012 - 3 February 2013

The New Art Centre is delighted to announce an exhibition of new sculpture by Laura Ford.  Ford is well known for her surreal portrayals of animals with distinct anthropomorphic qualities, with which she explore aspects of the human condition.  For the body of work shown in the Gallery at Roche Court, Ford's starting point was Masaccio’s fresco ‘The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden’.  In her postlapsarian vision, however, the characters of Adam and Eve are reconfigured as a group of very tall, skinny cats covered from head to foot in black fabric. 

Seeming to pace the Gallery floor in various states of distress, these cats appear like a group of existential poets gripped by their own inner anxieties.  Silhouetted against the backdrop of the Gallery walls, they are redolent of the self-absorbed, weary figures in a Lowry painting, but like the feline characters in Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’ or even Dr Seuss’ ‘The Cat in the Hat’, they also generate an atmosphere of anarchy and wantonness. Two further cats, cast in bronze, stride through the Sculpture Park; with their featureless faces they have an uncanny blankness onto which we can project our own fears and concerns. 

For the Orangery, Laura Ford has made a series of sculptures which look like children wearing penguin costumes; in fact Ford herself considers such works as sculptures dressed as people who are dressed as animals.  Whilst such sculpture can initially appear comical and cute, they also have a sense of the absurd and allusions to more serious, ominous and sometimes unsettling subject matter. With the penguins, her focus is on our often confused and divergent ideas about global warming and the fear that paradise may have already been lost.  With both installations there is a sense in which the cares of the world are so worrisome that transformation into melodrama may be all we can do. As Mark Gisbourne has said of her work ‘Comedy does not necessarily improve the world but makes it more tolerable’.

Laura Ford studied at Bath Academy of Art from 1978–82 which included a term at the Cooper Union School of Art, New York. She was included in 'New Contemporaries' in 1983 before attending Chelsea School of Art and 'The Sculpture Show' at the Hayward and Serpentine Galleries while she was still at Chelsea.  She has work in major collections around the world i ncluding Tate; National Museums and Galleries of Wales; Museum of Modern Art, University of Iowa; the Arts Council Collection, Contemporary Art Society; The Government Art Collection, The Victoria and Albert Museum, Jupiter Artland and the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She has shown in group and solo exhibitions around the world, including two previous occasions at Roche Court; her sculpture ‘Bird’ is currently sited in the Sculpture Park.

PRESS PREVIEW: Saturday 24 November 2012.  Free bus from London departing Tate Britain, Millbank at 10 a.m. and leaving Roche Cort at 3 p.m. Seats are limited.  Please contact the New Art Centre to reserve a place.  For further information about the exhibition and for images, please contact Stephen Feeke on 01980 862244 or nac@sculpture.uk.com.

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