I create through a process I call Iterative Expression. Iteration is the repetition of a process or procedure performed on a set of inputs. This is distinguished from simple repetition by the fact that each iteration must be different, even if only slightly, from the one before it. Each iteration defines a new possible variation, combination or transformation. Iteration is not about repetition; it is about evolution. One could say my work is "about emotion", "about color", "about form" or "about stroke" because all of these elements could be identified as evolving variations within my set.
Each of my paintings is based on a drawing. I draw constantly in an effort to channel subconscious feelings. For any one painting I make many iterative drawings, usually several hundred for each large painting, but occasionally several thousand. The process is two-fold, first raw expression, second analysis and selection. Over the years I have filled many sketch books with iterative drawings.
Iteration assumes change, whether chaotic, random or purposeful. By holding some elements constant, such as the subject, the differences between iterations are exposed and explored. In my art, the chaotic element is subconscious thoughts and emotions. These chaotic emotions are then quantifiable and comparable by examination of their effect on the iterations.
The face is the simplest means of expressing a complex emotion. Each of my individual iterations represents an instantaneous emotional state, but deeper meaning can be found in the differences within the progression. None of my paintings have titles because each represents an instant of pure emotion, which exists outside of language. To label a pure emotion with words would introduce outside associations that carry their own emotional connotations. My aim is to allow the emotion to speak for itself.
Emotion, Faces, Subconscious
I studied emotional response in college; my masters thesis involved measuring emotional response to stimuli and using these measurements to predict behavior. One concept that was very interesting to me was the difficulty of measuring emotion. People tend to use different words to describe similar emotions, the same words may have different connotations to different people, and of course measuring emotion in words limits distinctions due to boundaries established by the subject's vocabulary. This inspired me to create art that can define emotions free from the prejudices of language. Labeling a painting with a title is inherently prejudicial; it influences the viewer's interpretation of the work and assumes there is a correct reading. Emotions are not right or wrong, they just are.
Subconscious thoughts play an important part in the creation and selection of each drawing. I use iteration as a means of channeling the subconscious and bringing it out into the open. Drawing is a therapeutic process for me. As I settle into the rhythm of sketching, thoughts bubble up from the back of my brain. These thoughts guide my hand and also my eyes, as I am intently looking at each figure for a face that I recognize. I repeat a similar motion, almost like a signature, to create each face. There is no set point at which the face is "complete" - I just stop at the when I recognize the figure as a face, and move on to the next one. Thoughts are a lot faster than words, and it's not strange to go through many different and distinct thoughts and feelings while filling a single page with sketches.
I sketch faces because they fascinate me. Faces are a universal statement of emotion that exists outside of verbal language. A face is the simplest way of communicating a complex emotion; the meaning requires no translation around the world. Instead of names, I give my paintings dates, a period of time for which the emotion depicted was significant.
Since moving to Miami in 2004, Ross Ford has exhibited in multiple group and solo shows with his signature style of abstract facial expressions. Ross Ford has a Bachelors Degree from Hampshire College and a Masters Degree from the University of Florida.
VAE January – Group Show – Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
State of the Art, Art of the State – Group Show – Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC
The Art of the Auction – Group Show – North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Iterative Expression - GAB Studio, Miami, FL
Lucky You 2 – Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami, FL
Bakehouse Booth - Miami International Art Fair – Miami Beach, FL
Overthrow – Aqua Wynwood Art Fair, Miami, FL
5x7 – Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami, FL
Current Works: Paintings – Miami Art Exchange, Miami FL
Recently Acquired – Miami Dade College , Miami, FL
Live Rescue Benefit Show – Electric Pickle, Miami, FL
Just Relieve Benefit Show – Miami Science Museum, Miami, FL
Timeline – 131 Projects, Miami, FL
Hustle Collective – The Marlin, Miami Beach, FL
Recent Paintings – Century Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
Metamorphosis – Alt Space Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
Culture Couture – Alt Space Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
Loaded Deck – Alt Space Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
New Paintings – Buck15, Miami Beach, FL
1 Year Anniversary – Butter Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL – April 19th, 2008
Cooler Art – Damien B. Gallery, Miami, FL
2X Butter – Butter Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
The First Show – Butter Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL