Artist Statement

Each of these figures is a face. This practice began as doodles in my notebook margins. I would draw faces and heads, trying to show different expressions in each.  Given space I might draw whole figures but often it was just the heads. Notebooks became a gallery of subtle expressive moments. By the time I was in college it had progressed to pages filled with irregular rows of heads.

In 2005, I began creating paintings based on selected drawings from my books. As I completed more paintings I began to notice the steady, chaotic transformation of the heads. Once I had painted the more obvious faces, the less obvious, more abstract faces began to interest me more. This interest fed back into the drawing process and the shapes began to shift even further. I began to draw more faces when preparing for each new painting, looking for shapes and figures that I hadn’t seen yet. After several hundred paintings, it had evolved into code, multiple face shapes overlaid into a complex abstraction, pulsing figures with multiple eyes, contours of features from different angles. Sorting through hundreds of drawings trying to find ‘the one’ led me to study the structure of the facial code, comparing the feature placement, angles, the linear “construction”, density, speed and shape. One practice that grew out of this study was to draw in equally spaced grids.

At some point the work split into two groups, larger paintings and line-based work in ink. The paintings are intense focus on a single drawing with careful attention paid to the use of color. Color allows me to experiment with how the eye travels across the figure, suggesting movement and dimensionality. The drawings are focused on the effect of multiples, emphasis on the variation between iterations within a set.

A face is a schema; a set of symbols that encode a complex array of varying emotions that can convey meaning across cultural boundaries. The relationship of the components, the angles, size, all play a part in how a face is interpreted. This schema is used to communicate emotion; it is a pre-language method of visual communication. Speakers of different languages can interpret the emotions on different faces; even animals can read and convey emotion through facial expressions. Humans also ascribe emotions to objects that appear to have faces, such as cars.


Ross Ford is an artist based in Carrboro, North Carolina. Countless afternoons spent in comic book stores informed the hours he would spend doodling and creating his own characters. Encouraged by his grandfather, a commercial artist, he also explored perspective, drafting and various pen and ink techniques. He was encouraged to explore the expressive and conceptual content of his work by a friendship with outsider artist Duane Penske when he lived in rural Minnesota during his middle school years. He studied film and video production at Hampshire College, with a secondary concentration in social psychology and entrepreneurship. He went on to study mass communication at the University of Florida.

Solo Exhibitions

2015 Portraits, HQ Raleigh, Raleigh, NC
2011 Further Complications, Durham Art Guild (Suntrust Gallery), Durham, NC
2010 Iterative Expression, GAB Studio, Miami, FL
2008 Recent Paintings presented by Butter Gallery, Century Hotel, Miami Beach, FL

Group Exhibitions

2019 Horace Williams House, Chapel Hill, NC

2017 Canvas, Miami, FL
2016 The Beginning of Everything, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
2016 The Annual Juried Show, Durham Art Guild, Durham, NC
2015 Contemporary South, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
2015 Reunion, Bakehouse Art Center, Miami, FL
2014 Project Room, Brisky Gallery, Miami, FL
2014 The New Post-Literate: Asemic Writing, Rijika, Croatia
2014 N.E.W., Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
2014 Spring Group, Lasheras+Elliot, Mexico City, MX
2014 Uncharted, Trespass Gallery, Clarksville, TN
2014 Case Studies, Block Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2013 Ternary, The Carrack Modern Art, Durham, NC
2013 Contemporary South, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
2012 GAB Studio Basel 2012, GAB Studio, Miami, FL
2012 12x12x2012, Golden Belt, Durham, NC
2012 This & That, Bakehouse Art Center, Miami, FL
2012 The Art of the Auction, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
2012 Chapel Hill Public and Cultural Arts Office, Chapel Hill, NC
2012 VAE Exchange Gallery, Visual Art Exchange, Raleigh, NC
2012 Art No Bull, 311 Martin Gallery, Raleigh, NC
2011 GAB Studio Basel 2011, GAB Studio, Miami, FL
2011 12×12, Golden Belt, Durham NC
2011 Forum: Works by VAE’s Artists’ Groups, VAE, Raleigh, NC
2011 State of the Art/Art of the State, Cameron Art Museum, Wilmington, NC
2011 The Art of the Auction, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
2010 GAB Studio Basel 2010, GAB Studio, Miami, FL
2010 Lucky You 2, Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami, FL
2010 Miami International Art Fair, Miami Beach, FL
2009 Overthrow @ GenArt Vanguard, Aqua Art Fair, Miami, FL
2009 BAC23, Bakehouse Art Complex, Miami, FL
2009 Miami’s Independent Thinkers, Mitrani Warehouse, Miami, FL
2009 Current Works: Painting, Miami Art Exchange, Miami, FL
2009 Recently Acquired, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL
2008 Timeline, 131 Projects, Miami, FL
2008 Metamorphosis, Alt Space Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
2008 Culture Couture, Alt Space Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
2008 Loaded Deck, Alt Space Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
2008 1 Year Anniversary, Butter Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
2007 Cooler Art, Damien B. Art Center, Miami, FL
2007 2X Butter, Butter Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL
2007 The First Show, Butter Gallery, Coconut Grove, FL