Gary Foster is engaged with the physical act of painting, approaching his work with concerns for surface, the physicality of the paint, materiality and objectness. The works are as much made as they are painted; as much objects as images. Appealing unapologetically to the senses, the surfaces are seductive and invite touch.
Although essentially abstract, earlier work often referenced aerial landscapes, rock formations and the relationship between macro and micro. The natural processes of erosion and weathering are suggested through the repeated application and removal of painted layers.
Recent work is simpler, more reductive, and the processes more refined. Working within certain parameters allows the potential of the material, with its specific properties, to play an evolutionary role.
This distillation of modes of practice has resulted in the development of a system for image making that is dictated by the behaviour of the materials. Gloss paint, thickened with sand for malleability and in order that it holds its shape when dry, is arranged by drawing, dragging, scraping and imprinting. The image is the result of a process, a recording of events, and bears the evidence of activity, impressions and traces, the occasion of its fabrication.
There is a balance between transience and permanence, and between the gestural and the laboured. Immediate, spontaneous movements combine with meticulous, contemplative actions.
The work is imbued with the fundamental, universal and primitive, dealing with the basic mechanics of painting, with the viewer continually brought back to the materiality, the process and the action.
He lives and works in London.