all material copyright © Linda Ford 2015 unless otherwise noted
In this body of work I have reacquainted myself with traditional fly-tying and casting techniques that I’d watched my father engaged in when I was a child. I am researching the history of the practice and the naturalist's documentation of it in illustrations and journals and have been tying hybrid flys and keeping my own sketchbooks. Historically, the act of "fly dressing" has gone hand-in-hand with closely observing the natural world and interpreting it visually, via sketches. My intentions were to follow this tradition closely, but repurpose it for my own interests. I became curious about the metaphors of "baiting", “luring” and "hooking" and the often glossy and sexualized imagery and jargon used in fishing journals like “Field & Stream”. My fly patterns, like much of my past sculptural work, morphed into monstrous hybrids with disproportionate sexual organs protruding from their underbellies; while the graphite drawings created as part of a "Naturalist's Journal”, use naming conventions that address gender, sexuality and attraction issues. This series of work is inspired by Darwin’s theories of natural vs. sexual selection and excess, and poses questions about attraction, beauty and visual display in the world, as well as in art.
In recent video work, my "naturalist's drawings" of flys, have expanded to include drawings made with the casting line as both mark-making tool and linear element. Casting stands as a metaphor for drawing, or any activity during which the body and mind are in a state of focused attention. The title of the video “Creating Flow”, draws on the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the world's leading researcher on Positive Psychology. While studying creativity in the 60’s, he coined the term “flow” when he became fascinated by the phenomenon of artists and musicians getting “lost” in their work. “Flow” is described as a state of mindfulness characterized by a feeling of great absorption, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, ego) disappear. I am interested in the romantic tropes of both the fly fisherman and the artist, and where solitude, metaphysical connection to nature and inspiration meet. This work takes up the metaphor of the flowing river as fecundity and considers the role of bodily knowledge (muscle memory, hand-eye coordination etc.), sensation and chaos in the creative process.
Bodies of Work
drawings          objects          installation/print          video          project statement