“Periodically waxwings break out from their boreal confines and undertake massive, sometimes continent-wide migrations...Such was the impact of these sudden, inexplicable arrivals that Bohemian Waxwings were once loaded with sinister import...Old names for the species included Pestvogel (‘plague-bird’) which is still the bird’s name in Dutch, as well as unglückvogel, pestilenzvogel, and todtenvogel in German-speaking areas (respectively, ‘disaster-bird’, ‘pestilence-bird’ and ‘death bird’). A widely recorded waxwing invasion during the winter of 1913-14 was later assumed to be a foreboding omen for the calamity that ensured the following summer - the First World War”
Mark Cocker, Birds and People, London: Jonathan Cape, 2013, p 407.
WALTON FORD lives and works in New York, New York, and his work is included in a number of private and public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ford’s midcareer retrospective traveled from the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Fur Gegenwart in Berlin, to the Albertina in Vienna and to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark in 2010-11. Ford was recently the subject of a solo exhibition within the Musée de la Chasse, Paris. Taschen has issued three editions of his large-format monograph, Pancha Tantra.
WINGATE STUDIO is based in the Connecticut River Valley, and under directors Peter and James Pettengill and Alyssa Robb. The Studio produces and publishes printed editions, books, special projects with contemporary artists. Peter Pettengill and Walton Ford have been working together for nearly 20 years. Pestvogel (2016) is the 13th collaborative print between artist Walton Ford and the Wingate Studio of Hinsdale, New Hampshire.
“In this print I imagined what kind of imagery could accompany this fantastic belief, the idea that a small songbird could be responsible for a world war. Some of my work is a literal exploration in these kinds of fears and superstitions.”
Walton Ford, 2016