Yet Foster's world of tragic-comic absurdity is always saved from shallow visual punnings or crude sexual clichés by his unerring artistic sense of compositional tension, texture variety and free associational complexity. Every detail is meticulously selected and immaculately crafted. Foster is a sculptor with an unusual talent for summoning up the innate evocative qualities of a vast range of materials.
Let's take other examples of Foster's games of profound disguise and playful deception. From the start the very title of Proboscis Interuptus 2 suggests a joke of embarrassingly private proportions. The overall form of the work suggests some hermaphroditic ambiguity. Leather straps are looped around washing machine pipes. Just visible in close-up in the lower centre is a tiny cast bronze mouth set in a pet-shop dog bone.
Again, with Captain Morgan and the Shirt Flappers of Thebes, the title itself sets the tone of an indecipherable humourous code of personal experience or obsession. This time the blunt phallic thrust is seen in profile. Dangling from its lower edge is a motley array including striped climbing ropes and a rubber rat. A collapsed Christmas tree bedecked with red ribbons adds a hairy note of seasonal green. Atop the lot a goofy camel head, modelled from papier-mâché and resin, peers out under a nice new pair of goggles. This work pushes into realms of comic daftness but again it is given depth by its sheer wealth of sensuous surfaces. Elsewhere the artist's materials have included a tartan scarf, an epoxy carrot, rubber udders, marble, slate, cast bronze and carved blocks of gorgeous lignum vitae hardwood. These are variously stained and pattinated to look ancient or are immaculately polished.
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