“Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his own tongue” – Henri Matisse
There are different schools of thought on the extent to which an artist should ‘explain’ their work. Carl Foster might seem to be adhering to Matisse’s injunction to painters with his reticence to speak about his work; however, this young painter is naturally reserved. Questions might make him bashful, yet one detects determination; a backbone and that much overused word in the arts, passion.
Foster has been exhibiting regularly since graduating in 2007 from Whitecliffe Art School and is best known for his exquisitely modulated grey, green, blue and earth tones contained within immaculate and lyrical shapes which undulate, glide, swoop and fall. Foster listens to jazz and the blues. He loves the blues singer Robert Johnson. Music transports the listener; it excites, soothes, and speaks to the heart. In Foster’s painting, we see him go to a place imaginatively, with an acute sense of movement. The experience of the actual is transmuted into a vision that moves; in both senses of the word.
Carl paints intuitively straight from his mind. He rarely uses preparatory sketches, preferring to work directly onto the surface and building up the work as it takes shape. Symbols and intersecting planes suggest a way into deciphering his work but the beauty lies in discovering something new, every time you look at a work. Each work is meticulously and painstakingly hand-painted and then sealed with a final protective varnish. Sometimes Carl has been known to paint landscape scenes en plein air, in and around the west coast beach scenes of Auckland. Mostly, his mission in his painting practice is to achieve balance in line, tone, colour and the overall composition.