A key starting point for Richard Forster's practice is a documentary approach to time, process and sense of place. In his most recent exhibitions, he has constructed sequences of works that act as a calendar of activity, and a form of storytelling that circumnavigates the gallery architecture. Forster has nurtured his drawing from formative years he describes as an 'anxious teenager alienated in an English suburban bedroom'. While his intimate and compulsive attention to detail could be categorised and mistaken for photo-realism, Forster prefers to use more ambiguous categories such as the 'nearly-photo-realistic' or the 'photocopy-realistic', in an attempt to extend the reading of the work towards the meanings inherent to the medium of drawing, and the particular subject-matter of his choosing.Read More
Forster's earlier sculptural works offered a counterpoint to this flow of drawing process, deliberating on the often theatrical nature of presenting work in public situations. The last few years have seen a consolidation of drawing as his primary activity, and a rigorous conceptualisation both to his subject-matter and to its point and mode of address.
Recent exhibitions include Seascapes at Ingleby Gallery in 2008; The Northern Art Prize at Leeds City Art Gallery in 2009 and Drawn from Photography, a group show at The Drawing Center in New York. Forster's first major solo museum show, Fast and Slow Time opened at the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art in July 2011 and toured to The Flag Foundation, New York the following year. In May 2012, Forster participated in the group exhibition Slow Looking: Contemporary Drawing at Tate Britain, London.
In 2014, Ingleby Gallery hosted a major survey exhibition of Forster's work, Modern, that toured to the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester in 2015. Richard Forster's major new body of work focusing on the American post-war housing development Levittown was shown at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex in the summer of 2016.
You know Levittown, you've seen it in the movies: thousands of neat little houses radiating out across the suburbs in the fresh morning dew. Pop leaves for work in his gleaming new Oldsmobile. Mom waves the kids off on the yellow school bus. A freckled boy cycles past, tossing newspapers on sprinkled lawns.