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.
Forster was heavily influenced by celestial patterns in the space galaxies. Pre-dating the travels of the world's astronauts, these works were inspired by the brilliant patterns found in space. Galvanized by the writings of the prominent German art historian Paul Wertheim Forster placed special emphasis on the supremacy of color in works such as in our Untitled work. Wertheim was once quoted as saying:
"Colour is the medium of his expression, he has reduced all that is visible, all that is imaginable to colour, a strange and fantastic world of visionary colour. By means of colour, he knows how to give form to a whole range of emotions and feelings."
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 that were deeply personal and filled with emotion. Relying intently on his intuition as an artist Forster once explained:
"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."
The floating forms in this picture bear a close resemblance to the works of his good friend Rufino Tamayo and also through the all-enveloping array of various hues. In this celestial landscape composition Forster has reduced all visible images to the fantastical world of color. This highly refined and extremely disciplined abstract work boasts luminous and vibrant passages that resonate across the canvas and create a luster that is illustrative of the glowing universe.
Messum's, London, 2-26 October, 2013