A daughter preserves her father’s artistic contributions in this coffee-table book that intersperses sculptures, drawings, and paintings with essays.
In 1960, Charles H. Forrester asserted that the duty of an artist was “to seek meaning in chaos.” Born in 1928 near New York City, he learned to understand disorder growing up in the shadow of the Depression and World War II. He married the politically engaged Dorothy Reese and moved to Seattle. There, he changed his focus from engineering to fine arts and began his influential career, working in a wide variety of materials, from plywood and welded wire to bronze. The brief biographical essay that forms the warm heart of this volume was written by the artist’s son, John, and daughter, Winifred, the book’s editor. They are perhaps best positioned to describe how Forrester’s art emerged from and was expressed by his life. (He died in 2010.) The other writings in these pages explore specific aspects of Forrester’s oeuvre. The keynote essay by Guy Jordan, an associate professor of art history, describes Forrester’s abstract works as “art forms which do not speak in words.” Jordan points out the humor evident in such pieces as Running Abreast, a sculpture that combines the muscular leg of a runner with a woman’s pendulous breast. Most of the volume is comprised of reproductions of Forrester’s wide body of work, with elucidating commentary by Joe Nolan, a musician, writer, and artist. Nolan points out the “voluptuous forms and stylized lines” that are present even in Forrester’s representational pieces, such as his expressive portrait busts. Works like The Voyage, an abstract sculpture of two linked figures that evokes the uncertainty of travel, and The Equestrian, a concrete monolith commissioned for the Oregon centennial, are commanding on the page, inspiring a desire to experience them in person. Overall, this illuminating book provides a substantial and comprehensive overview of Forrester’s philosophy and the place of his works in the pantheon of modern art.
A captivating examination of a creative mind in constant motion.
Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020
Page Count: 138
Publisher: Folly Industries
Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021
Review Program: KIRKUS INDIE
A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester
c/o Dexterity Books
9780578678269, $45.00, HC, 138pp
Synopsis: "A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester" offers an in-depth guide into the mind and artistic legacy of the artist. Curated by his daughter, Winifred Forrester, "A Mind in Motion" vividly presents more than eighty stunning images organized by ten distinct categories and five creative series of his most significant artwork. This richly visual coffee table book will appeal to art lovers everywhere.
Charles Forrester (1928-2010) was the master of the visual pun and comes to life through his legacy - sculptures, paintings and drawings, and journals. He was especially adept at working with the human figure, creating abstract figurative forms in materials ranging from welded steel to laminated-plywood. His engineering prowess is reflected in his kinetic sphere sculptures and wire suspension works. He captured startlingly realistic details, yet his works are highly stylized -- often twisted into sly visual puzzles and riddles.
The artist's large concrete outdoor sculptures across the United States and England are among his most well-known works, but he also created many smaller sculptures cast in bronze and aluminum. With roots in New York and the Pacific Northwest, and as a teacher for thirty years in England and Kentucky, Forrester's work directly impacted generations of sculptors and artists. His frequent sabbaticals and residencies in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas provided him inspiration for his life-long creativity. In 1998, Forrester and his wife, Dorothy, moved to East Nashville, where he maintained a studio up until his death in 2010.
The late artist's sculptures have been shown in many regional and national exhibited nationwide, receiving numerous awards. Some of Forrester's more notable public artwork was commissioned by Chamber of Commerce, Springfield, Oregon; Medford, Oregon public parks; Shakespeare Memorial Theater in Ashland, Oregon; the Bundy Art Museum, Waitsfield, Vermont; Broughton High School, Salford, England; Bowling Green-Warren County, Kentucky Hospital; and Northern Telecom, Nashville, Tennessee.
Additional contributors to the book are: John Forrester, son of Charles Forrester, Rome, Italy; Russ Faxon, sculptor, Bell Buckle, TN; Caroline Phillips, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, University of Oregon; Sam Hunt, Adjunct Professor of Art, Western Kentucky University.
Critique: Beautifully and profusely illustrated throughout, "A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester" is a superbly produced, informed and informative retrospective on the life and work of a talented American sculptor and unreservedly recommended for personal, professional, community, college, and university library 20th Century American Art History collections in general, and Charles H. Forrester supplemental studies reading lists in particular. It should be noted for students, academia, and non-specialist readers with an interest in the subject that "A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester" is also readily available in a digital book format (Kindle, $24.99).