Fairfield University hosted an opening reception for studio art professor, Kevin Ford’s exhibition, “Nouns,” on Feb. 26. This art exhibition, located in Lukacs Gallery in Loyola Hall, displays 27 acrylic paintings.
The name of the exhibition, “Nouns,” fits perfectly with the paintings because each painting depicts the definition of a noun. Each painting shows a different simple object including plants, faces and books. Ford said he chose these simple subjects in order to “explore more painterly issues of color, form, space and touch.”
Walking into the exhibition gave attendees a rush of serenity. The paintings showed simple objects in a unique and beautiful way. There were no descriptions displayed that explained the exhibition or any of the individual paintings, but it wasn’t needed. It felt like a warm, sunny, spring day – carefree and soothing.
Each of the objects depicted were painted in a soft and fluid way which, according to Ford, made the objects seem more like a memory. The objects weren’t nonexistent, but they also didn’t depict complete realism. The objects seemed to be on an in-between plane of existence. Each painting showed a different object with a sort of film over it. In order to achieve this effect, Ford used brushes, spray guns and airbrushes to apply the paint onto canvases, wooden panels and linen.
Ford likened this blurriness to the technique of sfumato in Renaissance paintings, shallow depth of field on a camera and pixelation on an image zoomed too far in. It makes each painting feel like something just about to be discovered – only instead of the discovery showing itself, onlookers had to find the discovery themselves.
The art exhibit contains paintings that are similar in their subject matter and technique, but are vastly different based on their use of color. In certain paintings, the colors are bold and contrast each other, but, in others, the colors are just as soft as the brush strokes. The bold colors give the everyday objects a twist. One painting features what seems to be a hot pink vase against a neon green background. However, because of the fluid style and strange shape of the vase, it looks very abstract and post-modern. The art exhibit also includes a painting consisting of two books, one overlapping the other. The colors are light and neutral, and, if it weren’t for the style, it would be very realistic.
One challenge Ford faced while making this exhibit was deciding how to create something out of nothing. “The challenge that engages me is how to make a few swatches of pigment and blurry brushstrokes coalesce into an object which functions as a reflection on its own existence while imbuing it with an aura of unimpeachable experiential ‘thereness,’” said Ford.
When asked why he created “Nouns,” Ford simply said the Lukacs Gallery was a place to put his work in between exhibitions. It also allowed him to experiment with his art in different ways and share it with students. Usually, Ford creates large scale paintings, but chose to use smaller canvases and panels for this exhibition. He painted the canvases as if he were sketching and exercised different tactics than he usually would. For years, he had been staging exhibitions for his students at the Lukacs Gallery, so he wanted to finally share his work here.
Ford has a bachelor’s degree from Boston University and a master’s degree from Yale University School of Art. He lectures at Lehman College and Pratt Institute, and has been an adjunct lecturer in the studio art department at Fairfield University since 2011.
Overall, the “Nouns” exhibit was a thought provoking and calming experience. It will be on display at Lukacs Gallery in Loyola Hall until March 9. Professor Kevin Ford worked marvelously on each painting to create a magnificent art exhibit for Fairfield University faculty, staff and students.