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Close Look: Kevin Ford at Tops Gallery in Memphis, TN

This is the third installment of Close Looka new weekly feature sharing images of a noteworthy exhibition currently on view in the South. Check back each Saturday for a new installment highlighting a different exhibition.

Installation view of Kevin Ford’s solo exhibition “Version Version” at Tops Gallery in Memphis.
Installation view of Kevin Ford’s solo exhibition “Version Version” at Tops Gallery.
In 2018 it has become possible to see the very pores on your newscaster’s face, to see what your ex is preparing to eat for dinner, to see a street view of Ulaanbaatar from a screen in your hand during your morning commute. The Enlightenment and Silicon Valley would have us believe being seen makes the world more real, but the growing consensus seems to be that everything feels totally surreal. Leonardo would remind us that part of seeing is actually not seeing. Ford’s paintings are made with an airbrush. They are soft, sfumato, to the extent that it is sometimes hard to see what they depict. But their smokiness isn’t the dusky smoke from a Rennaisance fireplace, it’s sour apple Juul vape. And these paintings do depict: each painting reads as a catalogue entry on a specific object or experience, seemingly chosen at random from the vast array of objects and experiences available in what we call the real world.
—From the exhibition text accompanying “Version Version”
Kevin Ford’s paintings Oh no (2018) and Woman (2018) on view in “Version Version.”
Kevin Smith, Woman, 2018; acrylic on canvas, 12 by 16 in.
Installation view of Kevin Ford’s solo exhibition “Version Version” at Tops Gallery.
Kevin Ford’s paintings Hyacinth (2018) and Blue Vase (2017) on view in “Version Version.”
Kevin Ford, Poppies, 2018; acrylic on canvas, 18 by 24 in.
Kevin Ford, Pink Vase, 2017; acrylic on linen mounted on panel, 9 by 12 in.
Installation view of Kevin Ford’s “Version Version” at Tops Gallery.
Kevin Ford, Bull, 2017; acrylic on canvas mounted on panel, 9 by 12 in.
Kevin Ford, Pink Vase, 2017; acrylic on canvas mounted on panel, 11 by 14 in.
Kevin Ford’s paintings Autonomy (2018), Uncut amputee (2018), and Banana (2018) on view in “Version Version.”
Kevin Ford, Untitled, 2018; acrylic on panel, 16 by 20 in.
Kevin Ford, Horsey, 2018; acrylic on panel, 18 by 24 in.
Kevin Ford, Dentures, 2017; acrylic on linen mounted on panel, 9 by 12 in.
Kevin Ford, Bronze Foot, 2018; acrylic on panel, 18 by 24 in.

Kevin Ford’s “Version Version” is on view at Tops Gallery in Memphis, TN, through January 26.

Kevin Ford (b. 1975, Stamford, Connecticut) received his BFA in Painting from Boston University and his MFA from Yale. His work has been included in solo exhibitions at Tops Gallery, Memphis, TN, Lukasc Gallery at Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT, and at MARCH Gallery, New York, NY. His work has been included in group exhibitions at Casey Kaplan Gallery, NY, The Islip Art Museum, NY, and Tops Gallery, TN. He currently lives and works in Connecticut.

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