Richard Forster: Modern
Photo-realist drawings that examine the act of recreating the real
At first glance these are photographs, innocent documentary works in a sharp, cobalt monochrome that suggests a fascination with 20th-century modernism as viewed through the prism of the realist photo-essayist. There are buildings everywhere, high-rises both old and weathered or in construction; the White House at the end of a crowded Washington Mall on the day of Obama’s inauguration, viewed from above; and the old Berlin People’s Palace. The effect is to suggest a compelling interest in the visual fabric of history, in the detail that exists amid the strata of cities as they develop.
Depending on how the viewer approaches the work, it might then come as a surprise to find that these are in fact drawings, painstakingly recreated from Forster’s collection of found and self-sourced images. While this fact doesn’t dull the architectural fascination (although there are turn-of-the-century style sepia nudes and nature still lives here too), it means the works become more about the act of recreating the real itself, with the relatively casual pleasure of photography replaced by a dedication bordering on fanaticism. The games Forster plays are also compelling, whether that’s drawing a ‘zooming’ series from the detail of a single picture or recreating an imagined landscape sculpture from a procession of photographs taken from the window of the same train in the same location, day after day.
Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until Sat 21 Jun.