Birmingham, Alabama-based artist Ryan Foster will premiere his newest body of work, “Hard Sky,” at Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles on January 9, 2016. In his second exhibition with Richard Heller Gallery, Foster, a classically trained oil painter, uses the canvas as a stage where curtains and theatrical backdrops are interwoven with former versions of themselves. Foster’s beautifully detailed and meticulously painted scenes belie the darker nature of the reality he creates. All that glistens in this world is not gold. Bright colors only highlight burgeoning despair, painstaking details suggest futility, and the ubiquitous Hard Sky under which it all unravels leaves the viewer wondering if we are all just wasting our time.
Foster, born in 1984, received his BFA from University of Montevallo, Alabama, in painting and printmaking in 2006 and his MFA from University of South Florida in 2011. His works have been published in The Tampa Review, New American Paintings and The Oracle, Tampa.
“Eventually, even the original paintings are absorbed into the curtain, becoming the backdrop for the next painting - a painting within a painting. Things get complicated when this process is repeated over and over ad infinitum. You are left with a painting within a painting within a painting, etc. This process is similar to an extremely crude animation with thousands of frames missing in between. Characters stand alongside former versions of themselves. Multiple horizons confuse what is tangible and what isn’t. Representational subjects morph into abstractions of shape, value and color. Repeat this process several times over and you will get an odd assemblage of histories, memories, ghosts and, in this case, multiple horizons on a single canvas. Like comparing an old photo album to a current Facebook image, it is the ominous passing of time and a foreboding sense of change that makes looking at both images (on the same canvas) more interesting. “