Carl Foster



"Whoever wishes to devote himself to painting should begin by cutting out his own tongue"
- Henri Matisse

There are different schools of thought on the extent to which an artist should ‘explain’ their work. Carl Foster might seem to be adhering to Matisse’s injunction to painters with his reticence to speak about his work; however this young painter is naturally reserved. Questions might make him bashful, yet one detects determination; a backbone and, that much overused word in the arts, passion.

Foster has been exhibiting regularly since graduating in 2007 from Whitecliffe Art School and is best known for his exquisitely modulated grey, green, blue and earth tones contained within immaculate and lyrical shapes which undulate, glide, swoop and fall. Foster listens to jazz and the blues. He loves the blues singer Robert Johnson. Music transports the listener; it excites, soothes, and speaks to the heart. In Foster’s painting, we see him go to a place imaginatively and with an acute sense of movement. The experience of the actual is transmuted into a vision that moves; in both senses of the word.

Carl paints intuitively straight from his mind. He rarely uses preparatory sketches preferring to work directly onto the surface and building up the work as it takes shape. Symbols and intersecting planes suggest a way into deciphering his work but the beauty lies in discovering something new every time you look at a work. Each work is meticulously and painstakingly hand-painted and then sealed with a final protective varnish. Sometimes Carl has been known to paint landscape scenes plein air in and around the west coast beach scenes of Auckland. Mostly his mission in his painting practice is to achieve balance both in line, tone and colour and in the overall composition. 

O'Neils Beach Hills around Muriwai Muriwai Beach Maori Bay
Incoming Tide West Coast Rockpools, O’Niels (towards Dusk) O' Neils Beach
Maori Bay, West. Bethells Beach Maori Bay, Looking West West Cost Rhythm, Riverhead
Muriwai, View of Gannet Colony Bethells Beach, Cliff - Face Bethells, Looking West O'Neills, Rockpools Facing North
Muriwai, Clifftops Hobson Bay Untitled landscape Bethells Caves, Storm Approaching
O’Neills Headland View towards Oraki Cliff-face: Bethalls Late Afternoon, Looking out to Gannet Colony, Muriwai
Te Henga, Headland and Rocks Rocks, Bay and Tide Headland, Looking North O'Neills Beach, looking North
View down to O'Neill Bay O'Neills, Rocks, Tide and Headland Rocks, Waves, Headland: Maori Bay View towards Herald Island