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 Tony Foster  (1946 - )

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Lived/Active: Arizona/California / England      Known for: watercolor landscape painting

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Ad Code: 4
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from Auction House Records.
From the West End of Horseshoe Mesa Looi
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Tony Foster was born in Lincolnshire, England, in 1946. His home is in Tywardreath in Cornwall, UK, though he travels extensively to make his work.
Since 1982 Tony has created a series of 'watercolour diaries' in the world's great wildernesses.

He does not use photography or sketches but makes his paintings on site, often in the most difficult and uncomfortable circumstances. Sometimes a large-scale work (up to 6 feet by 3 feet!) will take more than two weeks on site before it is sufficiently resolved to roll into its aluminum tube to be completed in his studio in Cornwall.

The paintings are not simply landscapes - by their inclusion of written notes and symbolic objects they record his observations and experiences during his time in the wilderness.

Traveling mostly on foot, by raft or canoe, he has had adventures resulting in ten major exhibitions. His exhibitions usually tour galleries in Great Britain before going to the USA where most of his work is sold.

Tony Foster's work is represented in Stanford University, California; Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado; Falmouth Museum and Art Gallery ;Autry Center for Western Art, Los Angeles, California; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona; Denver Art Museum; Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital; Yosemite National Park, California and Sierra Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada.

In 2001 the Council of the Royal Geographical Society conferred upon Tony Foster the Cherry Kearton Medal and Award for artistic portrayal of the world's wilderness areas.

In 1988 he was awarded the Yosemite Renaissance Prize. In 1994 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.


Biography from Museum of Northern Arizona:
Exhibition Review:

Tony Foster - Sacred Places, Watercolour Diaries from the American Southwest
June 16 - October 13, 2013

For more than twenty-five years, English artist Tony Foster has explored Earth's wilderness regions with his watercolors. He travels slowly and deliberately, often backpacking on foot, creating his paintings onsite and adding finishing touches at his studio in Cornwall, England. Tony Foster - Sacred Places,

Watercolour Diaries from the American Southwest is an exhibit focused on the Colorado Plateau and nearby sites.

The exhibit opens at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) in Flagstaff and to the public on Sunday, June 16 through Sunday, October 13, 2013. Early viewing with the artist and exhibit curator will take place at MNA's 7th Annual Gala on Saturday, June 15 and the Brunch and Curator's Reception on Sunday, June 16.

MNA Fine Arts Curator Alan Petersen, who is also the curator of this exhibit, says, "Tony Foster's paintings are a celebration of the beauty of the natural world, and the personal and visual freedom found in remote locations. His paintings are far more than simply depictions of a specific location. Foster's watercolors combine the painted image with small natural or man-made objects that tell other aspects of the story of his subject. Often his works of art include an entry from his journal and a section of a topographical map, depicting the location and giving the painting a clear geographical context." 

Petersen has also selected a number of objects from MNA's collections with their origins near the locations of Foster's paintings. Seeking to create a philosophical dialogue with viewers, these objects enhance the story of the contemporary artist, and those artists and crafts people for whom these places are, or were, sacred.

This body of 33 works of varying sizes (some as large as three by six feet) painted over a period of three years, explores sites in the American Southwest that have sacred associations for a broad range of cultures and faiths. Foster has painted in locations that were sacred to ancient peoples, and others that are sacred to contemporary Native Americans and a broad range of cultures, faiths, and belief systems. The exhibition also includes a series of eight paintings which document a trip down the San Juan River in southern Utah and depict a riparian environment, significant to all of the natural and social sciences.

Tony Foster asserts, "All societies need to express their reverence for extraordinary places. Tribal societies express it through their religious practices and ceremonies. Our own, more secular society, expresses it by designating national and state parks, national forests and monuments, thus rendering them sacrosanct. It could be argued that the environmental movement is the secular means by which we express our need to honor the earth."

Museum Director Dr. Robert Breunig adds, "Foster's works of art are visual poems that give form to the feelings and thoughts that the beauty of the Colorado Plateau inspire. They clearly illustrate the geographical and geological diversity that marks a journey in any direction across the Plateau Province, as John Wesley Powell called it. Tony Foster's paintings of sacred sites on the Colorado Plateau speak to the richness of the human experience here, the beauty and complexity of the natural world, and the ways in which humanity has given meaning to those places."

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