It’s all about drawing this week… from Charles Avery’s precision pencil work and fluid ink washes in yesterday’s entry, to Richard Forster’s meticulous use of graphite today. Richard’s is a documentary approach, choosing his subjects from photographs rather than from life - images found in magazines, books, or on the internet, or occasionally his own snaps. At a glance his choice of subject can seem quite diverse, encompassing glamour-girl nudes of the 1920s tastefully depicted in pastoral settings, to seascapes from the coast near his birthplace in the north of England, and the meeting points of architecture and social change.
They are brought together by his extraordinary, painstaking, almost compulsive approach - and by an underlying interest in measuring both his experience of the world, and something about himself through long hours spent at the drawing board. It is a slow and intimate process, a kind ‘photocopy-realism’ as he has described it, setting the elusive experience of an instant caught on film against the slow time of the drawing’s making and in so doing forcing the viewer to slow down the process of looking.
Richard is especially drawn to the socio-political history of the former DDR – the building of the Bauhaus (and spread of its influence westward) and the more recent phenomenon of ‘ostalgie’ – a kind of nostalgia for aspects of life under Communism in former Eastern Europe. The image featured here depicts the moment in September 1961 when Frieda Schultze, a 77-year old grandmother living in a building in the border between East and West Berlin escaped from her first-floor window into the arms of West German soldiers on Bernauer Strasse.
We’ve worked with Richard since 2007 and have made several exhibitions together, including ‘Modern’ in 2014 which subsequently toured to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.