Magazine article Art Monthly

Noel Forster 1932-2007

Magazine article Art Monthly

Noel Forster 1932-2007

Article excerpt

Noel Forster remained a unique personality among his generation of British abstract painters. He once half jokingly suggested that he 'existed outside of chronology'--meaning he didn't subscribe to 'early-middle-late' notions applied to his working output, but this might equally describe his place in the British art scene. Forster belonged to a generation educated by Lawrence Gowing, Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton in the 1950s, and his work presented an idiosyncratic analysis and vision of what painting could be; it was a vision that escaped the straitjacket of 'schools', fashions or styles. By the early 60s Forster had developed a method of painting that had assimilated the scientific bias of visual structuralism (as identified with the American artist Charles Biederman), systems of writing (inspired by Rembrandt and Leonardo) and a controlled, slowly accumulated, organic growth. Characteristically, his paintings used webs of arc-like gestures, created by the movement of both arms, which resulted in glowing, light-induced surfaces. Painting, for Forster, was all about making connections between phenomena, and his method of creating 'nets' (not grids, an important distinction for him) enabled the flexibility of both connotation and material physicality that he desired. …

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