"Under the Sink": Larkin Ford's Intersections of the Grotesque + the Beautiful


"Under the Sink": Larkin Ford's Intersections of the Grotesque + the Beautiful

  • Ali McGhee

    Ali McGhee is a journalist, creative writer, and academic. Her work has appeared in The Edgar Allan Poe Review, Romantic Circles, Symbiosis: A Journal of Anglo-American Literary...

Husbandry, Larkin Ford

Husbandry, oil on canvas (2015)

Painter Larkin Ford, who graduated from UNCA in 2008 and is an MFA candidate at Georgia State University, returns to his old stopming grounds to present his new show, "Under the Sink." Ford, who works in a variety of media, including oil painting, charcoal, comics, and sculpture, has put together an exhibit that, as he told UNCA, explores the "relationship between spirituality and the grotesque."

Ford's darkly surreal, grotesquely poetic visions tread the line between panic and pleasure. The beings that inhabit these works embody a depraved sensuality, a coarseness of spirit. Even the most mundane activities--changing clothes after a long day, sitting down to a meal--are distorted. The characters seem to march on despite their dismal surroundings, perhaps aware that they are trapped and determined to make the most of it (in whatever dark, afflicted way they can). Most Nights, oil on canvas (2015)


It's easy to trace some of Larkin's influences--Goya, Brueghel, and Otto Dix among others--but it's also clear that Ford's sensibilities and his goals are uniquely his own. Tinged with body horror, evocative of the Southern Gothic tradition of Flannery O'Connor, Faulkner, and William Gay, the works represent a hellish and strange world rendered in a variety of palletes, from the shades of gray in Most Nights to the sickly but defiantly rich hues of Kitchen Table, Trap Hill. Kitchen Table, Trap Hill, oil on canvas (2014)

The pieces simultaneously invite and deny narrative. According to Ford, "A sense of tension unifies the pieces, balancing concrete depiction with narrative mystery. The works’ absurdist imagery and pictorial interruptions are tethered to reality by the squalid domestic settings from which they erupt.”

The nightmarish visions of Larkin Ford will be on display in UNCA's Owen Hall (2nd floor gallery). The show runs from Friday, Febuary 19 - March 11. The opening reception is from 6-8 pm on the 19th. Ford will give an artist's talk on Thursday, 2/18 in Owen 247 (the Drawing Studio). All events are free and open to the public.