RAQUE FORD at Greene Naftali featured in Cultured by Maria Vogel
Raque Ford, Installation view, Nighttime Grudge or How I Wanted to Be a Rockstar, Greene Naftali, New York, 2022
You know when you are standing
And your sole is on the floor
And your heel is digging into the ground
And that little space between them
That’s where I make a little space for you
Nighttime Grudge or How I Wanted to Be a Rockstar marks Raque Ford’s debut solo exhibition at Greene Naftali, featuring a new body of work that infuses abstraction with narrative potential. By turns slick and diaristic, intimate and bracing, Ford’s latest wall works and sculptures expand the formal possibilities of her signature material: fragments of language incised into sheets of colored acrylic.
That total imbrication of form and content – what one critic calls her “Plexiglass poetry” – spans her work across two and three dimensions. Panels of mirrored acrylic are etched with a spidery script and cite texts both authored and found, creating layered works that explore how identity is forged through the remnants of popular culture. An accomplished printmaker, Ford has produced a suite of monotypes at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop, broaching new formal territory with experimental techniques that defy the medium's strictures. These unique works manifest the same playful eclecticism Ford brings to all she does, combining traditional intaglio processes like drypoint with embossed hippie flowers and pools of impressed watercolor.
At the gallery's center are a group of platform dancefloors made from tiled Plexi, its bright hues tightly fitted into colorful cladding for otherwise stark wooden structures. Ford's penchant for prefabricated and industrial materials ties her work to the legacy of minimalism, and these sculptures channel both the low-slung geometries of Robert Morris and the space-age Plexi boxes of Donald Judd. The more direct referent, though, is Felix Gonzalez-Torres's Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform) of 1991, a baby-blue plinth occupied for five sweaty minutes per day by a male dancer in silver lamé hot pants. Subtler in her queering, Ford also embellishes her platforms to make space for thoughts and impulses at odds with minimalism's rigorous exclusions: flamboyance and female anger and sadness, desire and a night out at the club, with graffiti scratched into the bathroom mirror that reflects us back to ourselves.
Raque Ford (b. 1986, Columbia, Maryland) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is currently on view in Greater New York at MoMA PS1 through April 18. Other significant group shows include the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo (through June 5); Morán Morán, Mexico City (2021); Greene Naftali, New York (2020); Kai Matsumiya, New York (2019); Roberta Pelan, Toronto (2017); SculptureCenter, Queens (2016); and Division Gallery, Montreal (2016); and recent solo presentations include 321 Gallery, Brooklyn (2019); CAPITAL, San Francisco (2017); and Shoot the Lobster, New York (2017). Ford’s work is in the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, and The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Daniel Creahan on RAQUE FORD at Greene Naftali for Art Observed