Walton Ford
Thanh Hoang, 1997 watercolor, gouache, pencil, and ink on paper 60x119 in.

Each of the five images in this exhibition is far more conceptually complex than a cursory glance suggests. Text entries in pencil, like a field-scientist's notes, appear here and there around the beautifully drawn animals. In this rendering of an indochinese tiger, silhouettes of historical figures and politicians emerge from the black stripes of the animal: Ho Chi Minh, Kennedy, Nixon, Johnson, Ngo Dinh Diem, Bao Dai, Madame Nhu... The theme is Vietnam, the war and its aftermath.

(text in upper left corner): Thanh hoang
getting stripes - A.D. 40 - 1997

(following are extracts from the text entries):
Within hours after the embargo was abolished a cold war broke out between Pepsi and Coke. Both giants were busy laying the groundwork for the eventual opening long before the trade sanctions were finally lifted. American Express also struck fast, signing an agreement with...

"Do you understand it now?" The tiger, straining with all his might and main, burst his bonds and fled away into the forest. But not before the part of his fur between the ropes had been burnt black. Ever since he has worn...

You can kill ten of my men for every one of yours I kill, but even at those odds you will lose and I will win.

If you can't lie, you'll never go anywhere.

I have tried to do my duty. I want to know what duty and good sense require. I believe in duty above all.

She is only plying her trade, I am the real whore.

I feel like a hitchhiker caught in a hailstorm on a Texas highway. I can't run. I can't hide. And I can't make it stop.

Let them burn and we shall clap our hands.