The key work of Richard Forster
I find myself inside the tranquil Ingleby Gallery, located just a short walk from the chaotic road of Edinburgh’s Princes Street, In the much quieter Calton Road.The gallery has been a considerable success within Edinburgh’s contemporary art scene and with its bright open floor space it provides excellent commercial premises for a contemporary artist to exhibit their body of work. Today I’m here to take a look at key works selected from the seven yearlong career of English artist, Richard Forster.
Forster draws his inspiration from photographs of all kinds, including his own snapshots, photographs he finds in magazines and books and images on the Internet. Despite the fact that his paintings often resemble photographs from a bygone time, he chooses himself not to be labeled within the category of photo-realism.
I can’t help but agree with him. His art goes beyond that. Whilst I follow the long white walls inside the sun-dazzled gallery, Forster‘s paintings tell me a story. Like jotted down diary reflections; certain places and people seem to have appealed and inspired the artist, in one way or another, to document them as a sort of memory, through the use of classical instruments such as pencils and watercolor.
Utilizing his eye for detail and exceptionally competent skills, Forster invites us to take part in his detailed paintings. His subjects include buildings, construction workers, rail traffic, everyday actions and visions which draw the spectator into the painting, the glorious mix of different themes and locations make for a fast paced yet peaceful viewing.
From a distance I seem to be able to see each ceiling tile and masonry detailing of the buildings he has carefully created – a reflection in the apartment buildings’ window glass, a shadow from a soaring seagull. The closer I get to the painting the more the details fade away and become blurry tonal combinations in gray scale. Precise and well planned, the paint is deployed in such a way that, at a distance, it forms a detailed image full of expression and life.
Looking at his artwork from the collection from Saltburn-by-the Sea, I’m captured by the feeling these three drawings rouse in me. I can practically feel myself standing on the shore; the magnificent waves roll in over my feet whilst the wind beats against my hair. Residual foam from the waves settles on the outskirts of the sea, a clue pointing towards the composition of something bigger than itself. So too, Forster‘s art in close up helps the spectator understand his gentle technique of image creation.
His art reveals an interest in pattern and rhythm. Many of his images create visual movement or include creative ways of playing with different patterns. In a collection of paintings inspired from a 1926 documentary film of a building site, we take part in just that: The movement is captured like a film still, stuck between moments, investigating the physical force of humans in real life situations.
Forster‘s ability to capture movement and essential details cause his paintings to become vivid, captivating and thought provoking.
I leave Ingleby Gallery with the feeling of fresh air in my lungs, wishing to see more of the talented Richard Forster in the near future. If you have the opportunity to visit this vibrant collection of art, I advise you to do just that.
The Richard Forster exhibition is on from 3 May – 21 of June at the Ingleby Gallery.
Written By Freja Malmstedt