Following the success of Laura Ford's Armour Boys, which were installed in the sculpture park last year, Ford, for her first solo exhibition at the New Art Centre will be exhibiting a body of new work in the award-winning gallery. Three fairy tale espaliered trees will stand in the interior space overlooking the ancient trees of the park and landscape beyond. Cast in bronze, each will have human feet and legs, as will two black birds perched nearby. These surreal elements are typical of Ford's work, which always depict a figure or animal, represented in an unusual and twisted way.
Soft fabrics, materials and found objects usually make up Ford's work, creating figures from the imagination or fantasy. Her Chintz Girls of 1998 were flowered fabric, child-size human forms, which stand, their faces featureless, pirouetting in the space. The Elephant Boy series, 2001-2, were again child-size figures, dressed in outdoor clothing with knitted elephant trunks, each in action, standing on stilts or pulling a sledge behind them. These uncanny figures always have a purpose and an endearing quality to them.
My work is a mixture of humour, melancholy and darkness. These characteristics are built up in layers of material, found objects and cultural reference applied around a core object, usually a figure. The accretion of these layers is not necessarily responsible in its process. Different trains of thought collide. I am playful when I work;
I improvise sculptural acts, working with them and re-working them until my understanding of the piece develops.
Laura Ford, Beast, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, 2006.
Laura Ford was included in the British Art Show 5, 2000, and represented Wales in the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005. Solo exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre; Arnolfini, Bristol; Royal Scottish Academy; and most recently Turner Contemporary, Margate, touring to the Economist Plaza in 2007. Forthcoming exhibitions include Wanderland at Fundament Foundation, Tilburg and her work is included in many public collections including the Government Art Collection and the Tate Gallery. Laura Ford was born in Cardiff and lives and works in London. She is represented by Houldsworth, London.