Born in India, educated in England, and a citizen of Canada, Michael Forster had international artistic roots, making it difficult to place his body of work in any one artistic movement or category. The supremacy of color was paramount to Forster, who here subtly blended layers of paint into gently refined compositions. His rich variations, luminous passages and inherent brilliant surface textures remain compelling even in his smaller works. Coupled with Forster's dexterous handling of paint, the richness of his colors make his works truly exceptional. Such varied and richly abstracted pictures place Forster as a stand-out amongst his contemporaries. He remained active in Canada for more than forty-five years and contributed substantially to the role in the cultural history of Canadian art. A frequent exhibitor with the major art societies by the 1930s, and with several of his paintings in the country's major museum collections at an early age by the 1940s, Forster is an artist with a unique and important place in the annals of contemporary art that reaches beyond international borders.
"I try to work in a state of open, receptive, mindlessness; to be alert to every hint, every direction that reveals itself in the course of the work."
—Michael Forster, 1970
Heavily influenced by the works of his close friend the famous Mexico City painter Rufino Tamayo, Forster created a special focus on the supremacy of color. This all-absorbing passion for color resulted in such magnificent gestural pictures as Summer's Spell with its intense color palette. Consistently experimenting with and initiating the fresh use of paint, Michael Forster, ever the world traveler, cannot be attached to any one particular art group or movement. A proponent of early Surrealism, Forster placed an emphasis on the unconscious life of the artist in his perceptive sensual application of paint. Forster's further concern for the essence of paint itself led him to create mesmerizing surface textures seen in our example that were deeply personal for Forster and full of emotion. The floating forms that seem almost to dance in this picture bear a close resemblance to Tamayo's works especially through the all-enveloping, deep, full, and impressive array of colors. In this overall landscape composition Forster has reduced all visible images to the fantastical world of color. This highly refined and extremely disciplined abstract work boasts luminous passages of oranges, yellows, pinks, and lightly colored greens that resonate across the canvas and create a luster that is illustrative of the glowing landscapes or even of the universe.
Messum's, London, 2-26 October, 2013