Marking her first exhibition with Greene Naftali Gallery, artist Raque Ford presents a new body of work this month abstraction with narrative potential; dense, layered arrangements in both two and three dimensions that underscore the artist’s weaving of the personal and architectural through inflections of text and material. By turns slick and diaristic, intimate and bracing, Ford’s latest wall works and sculptures expand the formal possibilities of her signature material: fragments of language incised into sheets of colored acrylic.
Ford’s works mix together inflections of memory with complexly layered structures to create works labeled by one critic as “plexiglass poetry,” meticulously interlocking layers of text, conjoined with cut plexiglass, mirrors and other materials to create plays of light and color counteracted by the text that runs through them. Panels of mirrored acrylic are etched with a spidery script and cite texts both authored and found, creating layered works that explore how identity is forged through the remnants of popular culture. An accomplished printmaker, Ford has produced a suite of monotypes at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, broaching new formal territory with experimental techniques that defy the medium’s strictures. These unique works manifest the same playful eclecticism Ford brings to all she does, combining traditional intaglio processes like drypoint with embossed hippie flowers and pools of impressed watercolor.
At the gallery’s center are a group of platform dancefloors made from tiled Plexi, its bright hues tightly fitted into colorful cladding for otherwise stark wooden structures. Ford’s penchant for prefabricated and industrial materials ties her work to the legacy of minimalism, yet equally integrates notions of desire and persona, feeling and forgetting as material in its own right. More than mere sites for the staging of words, these objects become a place for the introduction of selves not yet seen, or those fading into the ether. Ford embellishes her platforms to make space for thoughts and impulses at odds with minimalism’s rigorous exclusions: flamboyance and female anger and sadness, desire and a night out at the club, with graffiti scratched into the bathroom mirror that reflects us back to ourselves.
The show closes April 9th.
– D. Creahan
Raque Ford: Nighttime Grudge or How I Wanted to Be a Rockstar [Exhibition Site]