Kevin Ford “Soft Ghosts” and Chris Domenick “Flat Moon”

Kate Werble Gallery

poster for Kevin Ford “Soft Ghosts” and Chris Domenick “Flat Moon”

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Kate Werble Gallery presents the second in a series of two-person exhibitions, Kevin Ford: Soft Ghosts and Chris Domenick: Flat Moon.

Kevin Ford’s first exhibition at Kate Werble, Soft Ghosts, introduces a group of paintings that depict blurred objects set against monochromatic backdrops. Ford’s works have a quick appeal with their vibrant Day-Glo colors and visually elusive images of notebooks, outlets, vases, and fingers, but the immediate satisfaction of recognition dissipates without further pictorial details. In this way, the exhibition acts as a visual catalogue of obscured objects, collecting the perception of things without revealing the thing itself.

Ford’s paintings are an economical combination of delicate brushwork and loose airbrushing. The spray gun sends an atomized acrylic paint cloud that shifts from gas to liquid on the surface of the painting, capturing the fluid flux of movement and memorializing it. There is painting over, wiping out, and addition, leaving a sense that something is hidden beneath the matte surface.

The rapid circulation of images in our digital era flattens meaning. A meme on the internet occupies the same space as an image of an historical painting, an official government declaration, or a news headline. Similarly, Ford’s paintings give equal weight to the humble and the grand while highlighting the tension between documentation and illegibility. The works together are a cluster of “afterimages,” the snapshots that remain in one’s retina after the thing itself goes away.

Soft Ghosts reveals a very real distinction between clarity and reality, reinforcing how to look at a painting, and why it’s worth looking at all. Perhaps an age-old idea holds true: part of seeing is actually not seeing.

Kevin Ford (b. 1975, Stamford, Connecticut) received his BFA in Painting from Boston University and his MFA from Yale. He has held recent solo exhibitions at TOPS Gallery, Memphis, TN and Lukasc Gallery at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Essex Flowers, NY, Casey Kaplan Gallery, NY, The Islip Art Museum, NY, Tops Gallery, TN, Lehman College Art Gallery, NY, Fingesten Gallery at Pace University, NY, Allen Gallery, NY, NYIT Art Gallery, NY, Slocumb Gallery, at ETSU, TN, Silvermine Gallery, CT, Firehouse Gallery, VT, Glass Mountain Gallery, CT, among others. His work has been featured in V Magazine, included in the book Artists II, published by Steidl, and has been reviewed in Artforum and The New York Times, among other publications. He currently lives and works in Connecticut.


“The earth will win in the end.” The keynote speaker quoted Naomi Klein and I copied it down in the margin of my notebook, right next to a note that read “When people say the earth is flat, do they think it is really thick? Is there a top and a not-top? What do they imagine is on the other side?”

Sitting on my perch backstage, I looked over my scrawled script for my lecture “On the Poetics of Stopping,” and worked through the delivery of my hypo-fanta; my made-up word for a concoction of hypothesis and fantasy, where a handful of ideas backed by indefatigable evidence is meshed together with a handful of ideas backed by improbable imaginations. There is no gravity on the moon and its surface, when experienced up close, feels like canvas, smells like chalk, and glistens like an opal… like that. When it was almost my turn to take the stage, a woman peeked in to my hideout and told me that my art was provocative because of its lack of preoccupation with proving a point. But, what am I to do when I want an audience to take in the view from where I stand?

Hello. I want to start with a quote from Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day

“I think I know the trees

will never love me and we’re here as accidentally…”

If, when reading those lines, you stopped after ‘the trees’, if you just sort of dangled there for a bit, letting ‘the trees’ be the end of the thought, it would seem that Mayer is articulating the simple assertion that she might know a thing or two about trees. But, if you continue across the white expanse at the end of the line and down one step, you would realize that, in fact, she thinks she knows the trees will never love her. Where you stop changes a thing. But, if you thought ‘the trees’ only affected the words that followed, you would be wrong. As Mayer is also saying that she thinks she knows the trees. These two thoughts, cleaved by the linebreak, are bound together by the progression from one line to the next. Where you stop is not an end. A tree shows us this with its peeling bark, a day shows us this with its setting sun. Stopping establishes a liminal space where fact and fantasy happily intermingle, where you get to imagine what is next while remembering what has preceded. Stopping shapes the space between the back of a frame and the end of the nail, between the partition and the room, between the seer and the seen. Stopping accords us the ability to digress, to embrace the tangential.

Perhaps you stopped listening to me at the first utterance of ‘the trees’ and your attention branched off into a myriad of directions. Maybe your mind meandered off to the Great Basin Bristlecone Pine that, in 1964 at age 5,000, was the oldest known living tree until Donald Rusk Currey accidentally cut it down. Or to the broken down cardboard box in the corner of the room, or to Frankenstein, or to the shadows on the screen, or to global warming. Wherever you stopped, you simply added a new layer of thought. Meaning can exist without hierarchy.

Sitting on the patchy grass in the park behind the auditorium, I noticed the edge of a strange purple shape wedged beneath a grey rock and a pile of red dirt. I dug it up and out and unravelled the layers of purple paper, unearthing a small piece of limestone with the image of a woman etched into it. My attention drifted to the mound of dirt accumulated from all of my digging out and dusting off. I grabbed a handful of the dirt, dropped it into a small envelope I constructed out of overlapping pieces of the purple paper, wrapped it all in my yellow scarf, and placed it in the front pocket of my backpack.

Chris Domenick (b. 1982, Philadelphia) received an MFA from Hunter College and has participated in residencies including The Shandaken Project, The Sharpe-Walentas Space Program (NY), Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Recess Activities (NY), among others. Recent projects include Plumb at Motel (Brooklyn, NY), The Porch The Open at 14a (Hamburg, DE), Your Shell Is In the Unending, (in collaboration with Em Rooney) at The Beeler Gallery in Columbus, OH, Particulate Paper Records of Time in Cabinet Magazine and 5 O D A Y S at MASSMoCA. He has been included in exhibitions at Canada Gallery, The Queens Museum, Skibum MacArthur, The Vanity East, MOMA, Essex Flowers, Situations, Regina Rex, and Room East, among others. He currently co-curates the project space GERTRUDE in Stockbridge, MA with Em Rooney.



from March 12, 2020 to April 25, 2020

Opening Reception on 2020-03-12 from 18:00 to 20:00

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