Opened in January 2007 with a solo show by gallery artist, Andrew McAttee, FORSTER will also curate group exhibitions of collaborative events mixing established and emerging artists.
FORSTER is based in Fashion Street in the east end of London.
Unit 12.1 - 29 Fashion Street - London E1 6PX / +44 (0)20 7539 1974
This was their website’s. Content below is from the site’s 2007 archived pages.
“Andy Warhol once said that he wanted to paint glamour – simple uncomplicated glamour. McAttee says he wants to paint optimism – simple uncomplicated optimism”
McAttee’s latest work is described as a ‘type of dreamlike comic pop’ and borders on a sensory assault, with all manner of shapes, colours and textures bombarding the retina. The end result is an overriding sense of movement and vitality, like some psychedelic bubblegum universe, teeming with clusters of synthetic species bursting into life. McAttee comments. “My aim is to provide the viewer with a colourful riot of gravity-less forms set in highly layered, seemingly endless space with a sense of ambiguity, humour and celebration”. Andy Warhol once said that he wanted to paint glamour – simple uncomplicated glamour. McAttee says he wants to paint optimism – simple uncomplicated optimism, where there are no hidden codes behind the layers of paint.
McAttee‘s work is becoming highly collectable with commissions from Benson & Hedges, Nike and fashion designer, Antonio Berardi amongst others. His work draws influence from a wide variety of sources including graffiti art, comic book graphics, pop art and abstract expressionism. As a renowned graffiti spray artist (STET) and his subsequent post-degree escape from the confines of street art, McAttee’s art has been featured in The Observer, The Independent Review, Hip Hop Connection, Graphotisms and New York Magazine The Intergalactic Times.
McAttee studied Fine Art at Central St Martin’s, London. Since graduating in 1995 his work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including his own shows ‘Suck It And See’ in Soho and “Off the Wall’ with thecentralhouse in 2003. He also runs workshops for Anglia Polytechnic University and youth workshops in Chelmsford and Danbury.
Baldwin’s work has a sinister yet beautiful feel to it and deals with topics such as Vanitas, politics, religion and innocence.
Baldwin’s work has a sinister yet beautiful feel to it and deals with topics such as Vanitas, politics, religion and innocence. He incorporates graphic symbolism with pop elements to illustrate the fragile line between good versus evil. In throwing together opposing elements, he creates a poetic, chaotic and conflicting juxtaposition of life and death. His use of colour, in particular the candy pastel shades, is inspired from the Mexican death celebrations, ‘El dia de los Muertos’.
His recent work incorporates real butterflies, bullets, war medals, US dollars, Iraqi dina and burning flags set upon an ethereal spray paint background with clean graphic hand painted elements. He comments, “My work has always been about the fine line between the sinister and the beautiful. By presenting opposing elements I create a landscape of contradiction and suggestion. Vanitas made a lot of sense to me, when I discovered it, its use of symbolism was a reference to our mortality, the gun, the flower, the fly, the skull, etc – all referred to death being omni present.”
Baldwin’s ceramic vases and tea sets are an integral part of Apocalypse WOW and represent the more fucked up spontaneous side of his work. He comments, “Doodles are something I’ve done all my life. In 1996, I started ‘EVIL N SICK N NEED HELP’ which was a small book, which compiled my favourite doodles from thousands, I did 8 volumes!” He explores the contrast between a beautiful fired and glazed ceramic vase papered with provactive graphics such as skeletal birds on crucifixes, Adolf Hitler, teddy bears, crippled war heroes and hanging donkeys.
Baldwin has exhibited widely across the UK. and Europe over the last 10 years and has appeared alongside artists such as Tracey Emin, Julian Opie, Jamie Reid, Vic Reeves, Peter Blake, Matisse and Billy Childish. He has shown in Paris, Cologne, and in the windows of London’s Selfridges. Sir Alan Sugar described him as one of the best 5 up and coming British artists on BBC2’s The Apprentice. Dan Baldwin graduated with an award for excellence from Maidstone School of Art in 1995 and was subsequently offered a one year studio associate position, which involved tutorials and teaching. Prior to that he was at Eastbourne College of Art where he won Best Student award (92).
His work has featured in magazines such as Elle, Living Etc, Dazed and Confused, I.D. & Modern painters.
Clément’s subjects take photographic portraiture into a bizarre new sphere.
Etienne Clément was born in Paris, 1965. He lives and works in London and Paris. In his series of works entitled ‘Toy Stories’, the photographs, set in vacant, dilapidated buildings, fasten their gaze on tangible but unexpected presences.
Reversing the conventional studio portrait format of placing the real-life subject against an idealized, fake background such as painted clouds or a rural idyll, Clément has used all-too-real, troubled environments as the backdrop for a series of very unconventional, mass produced figures.
The effect is darkly comic and, occasionally, disturbing. The subjects are tiny, secondhand toy figures, each of which must once have represented some kind of ideal for its young owner but have since gone astray. Close up, their flaws are revealed, in the approximation of their painted features and plastic physiologies.
They look like products of their neglected environment, emerging from darkened doorways like a travelling troupe of forgotten film characters, each apparently making a new bid for stardom: poorly painted geisha girls, blue cowboys and red indians, jumping G.I’s, and mad staring dolls… Against their abused institutional setting of white tiled walls, there’s a suggestion that these inmates have taken over the asylum, trashed the place and are individually taking their bow. Some leap, some punch the air, some simply return the stare of the viewer, challenging them to work out what on earth is going on.
By photographing children’s figurines in these empty and abandoned places, in these ‘imported’ film sets, and by combining both portraiture and architecture, Clément is staging imaginary untold stories. They are the very stories he once made up as a child, playing at home, his imagination released, having just returned from the forbidden derelict building nearby. The work is about regaining childhood, where imagination rules in a world without rules.
Whether seen just as toys with a story to tell or as something less innocent, Clément’s subjects take photographic portraiture into a bizarre new sphere.
Cockburn’s pieces are elaborate, intriguing and beautifully executed, with an autonomy that makes one want to believe their existence.
In the age of the computer generated, the computer manipulated and the 3D rendered, Julie Cockburn’s work exists in a positively reassuring place. Evoking memories of delicate craftsmanship, her work – beautiful sculptures and paintings created out of printed image, paper, books, found objects and child-like mark making – is a curious mix of optical illusion and the simple transformation of everyday objects.
Cockburn makes new worlds from old. In a creative journey that involves the sourcing of materials and the time-consuming labour of intricate cutting out, she sculpts from the books and maps she accumulates.
The playfulness and nostalgia in Cockburn’s work is apparent, shown through a visual exploration and excavation of the materials she employs. She makes sense of the ridiculous by suspending balls in imaginary planetary systems and geological maps, or constructing new landmass from defaced countries, states and continents. Scholarly dictionaries become home to playful rubber balls; gardening books bloom with roses cut from their pages; old atlases are transformed into self-contained, contoured, territories. “I find myself searching for the answers to questions posed by the materials I collect. Things seem to fit together, drawn together through form or colour or substance. Embroidering a map emphasises both the threads and the road markings. To me it seems obvious that the images of people doing their exercises should be freed from the pages on which they are printed, or that a hundred paper birds should be liberated from their natural history book only to be crammed into a man-made birdcage.” In the Rorschach painting series, arbitrary paint splodges are echoed by an image, nearly identical but not quite; a marriage of the momentary and the hours long concentration so characteristic of Cockburn’s work.
Julie Cockburn’s pieces are elaborate, intriguing and beautifully executed, with an autonomy that makes one want to believe their existence. Her work is in both public and private collections worldwide. She lives and works in London.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve been taking photos on the move I love the painterly quality of light when colours run into each other on a photographic image”
“Travelling Stills are a series of photos I have been working on over the last 4 years. The subjects vary, from the bright lights of Las Vegas to tulip fields in Holland as well as seascapes from around the world. As the name suggests Travelling still is all about creating the feeling of movement in a still image. For as long as I can remember I’ve been taking photos on the move I love the painterly quality of light when colours run into each other on a photographic image. The randomness of taking long exposure photographs means you’re never quite sure how they are going to come out which makes collecting the exposed film exciting.”
Rob Carter has been a fine art photographer since 1993. He is more commonly known as one half of the ‘Rob & Nick Carter’ duo who have been described as ‘the next big thing’ by The Sunday Times and boast Elton John, David and Victoria Beckham and Matthew Williamson as collectors of their work.
Rob Carter makes photographic stills that give the impression of a moving image, as if taken from the side window of a driving vehicle. Using a revolving lens camera, the artist has taken over four years to collect the work on his travels in destinations including Tokyo, Scotland, Holland, Mauritius and Barbados.
Carter’s work centres on colour and light and some of the most vivid works shown here were captured in Las Vegas. Carter cites Vegas as the ‘perfect’ destination to produce a series of work; where better than Vegas to capture bright neon lights?
William Cruickshank’s installations, sculptures and photographs play with commonplace items, manipulating and stretching the original intention of an object in order to discover other aspects of its usefulness or to undermine it completely.
He describes his work as Monet with traffic lights. He has mastered the spraycan and is successfully marrying fine art with gritty urban scrawl.
Xenz painted his first piece in 1987 at the age of 14. He grew up in the North East, which gave a lot of space to experiment with graffiti styles due to its isolation from mainstream popular culture. In 1993 he formed what has become one of the UK’s longest standing and most respected graffiti crews known as the tcf crew / the cities freshest. He has developed a unique approach to the artform experimenting on different media and the word graffiti no longer sufficiently describes his work. His murals are like fantasy dreamscapes and he is known for painting dramatic skyscapes and floating cities depicting the letters of his tag Xenz in a destructed architectural style.
He describes his work as Monet with traffic lights. He has mastered the spraycan and succesfully married fine art with gritty urban scrawl. He works fast and enjoys extremely large scale work. He has collaborated with the best artists in Europe often in the conception of massive murals involving up to 20 artists speaking many languages.
His canvas work explores the subconscious capturing the essence of a summer daydream or even the feeling of walking drunk in the rain at night. He decorates vip areas for the major festivals and events, decorates private interiors and also creates graphics and websites. He lives and works as an artist. He studied textiles and applied arts at Edinburgh College of Art to post graduate level.
Zebedee Helm was born in 1970. He has considered himself an artist since he was 5 when Mrs Kevill his primary school teacher said he was the 2nd best drawer in the class. His father, a bird book publisher forced him to paint birthday cards for his father’s relations until he turned 21 and became a man.
He foundationed at Camberwell in 1988 and then went on to study fine art at Leeds University. Helm found himself the 1st person in 40 years to be sent down from the art course, the reason for his premature exit was given as inappropriate behaviour…
Moving to Gloucestershire Helm soon found himself absorbed into a pastoral existence with simple country types. He learned the craft of signwriting and later apprenticed himself to a drunken stone mason.To cut costs he bought a 2nd hand red indian tipi tent in which he lived in the summers on various estates in the county. He created his own sculpture park,in a particularly picturesque bit of landscape, by carving huge stone boulders into various animals.These were serious undertakings, each piece taking several weeks to finish, Helm living next to them in his tent, where he found himself the object of visitations from the local primary school and the gamekeepers daughter who would swing by with freshly roasted pheasants in a basket under her arm. To this day these sculptures remain, baffling pick-nickers and joy riders alike. Helm went on to develop this playful streak by creating a set of novelty roadsigns, which were extremely realistic in appearance yet bizarre in terms of content. There were 17 different designs, for instance one had a question mark on it, another a pair of lips. The council confiscated the lot within 3 days, and though they never were able to link Helm with the prank they burnt them, posts and all, at the annual guy fawkes carnival.
Through his interest in signwriting Helm discovered, around this time, the secret of painting and gilding on the reverse of glass. The simple abstact cartoons he’d been working on in his huge studio, a former hot-rod factory on the top of a hill, were suddenly transformed, when painted not on rough plywood sheets which attracted the dust and floating rural chaff onto the drying paint, but on sheets of big shiny glass, the reverse of the paint, still captured dust, but the front of it was preserved in a pristine state revealed in all its glory only when the glass was turned over.
His first breakthrough exhibition came in 1997 when he exhibited his reverse glass creations of abstract cartoonism in Islington. Basement Jaxx, provided the musical background, their breakthrough was to come some time later.The climax of the evening came when 2 people were discovered mating, naked in a pool of their own vomit in a corner of the downstairs part of the gallery. They’d mistaken the gallery for the sexual fetishists’ club which was right next door. The exhibition proved a wild success and Helm sold all his pictures.
- Jeff Koons
- Antony Micallef