I should also mention Foster's output as a printmaker, draftsman and painter. In these media, perhaps particularly in the painting, the stream of consciousness takes on a more feverish elaboration. One image bleeds relentlessly into the next to form patterns of frantic energy. The colours flicker so actively it's often hard to focus on any area long enough to decipher its possible figurative subject. The paint is smeared as the lines in the etchings tend to be scratched. This is raw picture making that leaves the image at exactly that enigmatic point where they just surface from the undifferentiated ocean mass of the unconscious. For the artist to entrap them into clearer definition would kill their seductive vitality.
They appear to serve as media of more free creative catharsis after periods of obviously intense concentration on selecting, crafting, arranging and rearranging the elements of his sculpture output.
So where does Foster belong in the world of contemporary art history? Thankfully again, I cannot place him. His work feeds off the techniques, images and embodied sensibilities of surrealist juxtaposition, Dadaist subversion, expressionist strum und drang, tribal totemism, s&m fetishism, seaside postcard humour, throwaway pop art, cool and highly skilled traditionalist craftsmanship. His work is potent enough to offend but beautiful enough to disarm. Like all art worthy of the name it draws the viewer's gaze out to turn it immediately back inward. We see ourselves mirrored mockingly but also touchingly in these weird faces. It is after all the age old human image we recognise here, always given the release from fallibility and vulnerability through the untameable visceral grace of adventurous creativity.
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