Richard Forster’s approach is seemingly straightforward, a deliberate choice of the most ordinary of mediums, but his resulting pencil drawings, made with an intense level of skill and a lonely determination over many months, ask awkward questions about the transition of such a deeply private activity into the public realm.
Forster draws from photographs rather than from life - either using his own snapshots, or images found in magazines, books, or on the internet. At a glance his choice of subject can seem quite diverse (pastoral nudes from the 1920’s, seascapes from the coast near his home in the north of England and the meeting points of architecture and social change) but they are brought together by his extraordinary technique and by an underlying interest in measuring his experience of the world. Common to them all is a sense of the place of the individual within the collective: the private within the public.
Recent exhibitions of Forster’s work at MIMA, Middlesbrough (2011) and the Flag Foundation, New York (2012) have looked in depth at individual series of drawings, but this survey will be the first wider exploration of the recurring themes that underpin his work.
A book with essay by Claire Gilman, Curator at The Drawing Centre, New York, was published to accompany the show.