all material copyright © Linda Ford 2021 unless otherwise noted

In this body of work I reacquainted myself with traditional fly-tying and casting techniques that I’d watched my father and brothers engaged in when I was a child. I researched the history of the practice and the naturalist's documentation of it in illustrations and journals and began to tie hybrid flies and keep 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 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 the video and performance work, casting stands as a metaphor for drawing, as the casting line functions both as mark-making tool and linear element. I made a series of “drawings” on paper, as well as site-specific locations (like culverts) using flies tied with traditional feathers and animal hair and dipped in paint or ink. 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 (female) and considers the role of bodily knowledge (muscle memory, hand-eye coordination etc.), sensation and chaos in the creative process. The “Drawing Water” series visually manifests flowing water and questions its future.


Exhibition        Drawings        Objects        Installation/Performance        Video        Project Statement