David Forster RSW: Edgelands
David Forster RSW’s fifth exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery, entitled Edgelands, looks to locations made peripheral by their geography and also by the intrusion of humankind. The exhibition centres on coastlines, seeking out overlooked corners of boatyards, cliffs and industrial sites made desolate by the force of the weather.
Although his style is hyper-realistic, Forster’s paintings retain an oblique, otherworldly aura and are all given titles referring to an old translation of Grimms’ Fairy Tales. A master of observation, Forster adds drama and atmosphere through altered light and astute composition. Forster’s work focuses on the shared heritages and experiences found in the natural world and offers sublime glimpses of recognisable landscapes that seem palpable but somehow unknowable. A series of small paintings centres on the Bass Rock, captured in both raging seas and at calm sunsets. Forster deftly evokes the poetry of this natural monument with pinpoints of colour combining into swathes of froth, ripples and swell. The sublime force of the sea surrounding the Rock emerges as the focus of the series.
Speaking about the exhibition, Forster says: ‘My work has always been concerned with the point at which our encounter with mundane reality escapes into the imagination, into the symbolism of our common mind. Nowhere is this more evident than at the coast, the edge-land between two states. Here we can embark in fantasies of history and myth, and the sense that the countries that we know lie on the other side of the sea might in fact exist as something altogether more magical.’
Forster lives in Edinburgh and his work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK. Since being awarded various prizes by the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour (RSW) and winning first prize in the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition in 2013 he has become known as one of the most accomplished artists in his medium. This year he won the W. Gordon Smith and Mrs Jay Gordon Smith Prize.