For nearly 30 years English artist Tony Foster has worked in the World’s wildernesses – mountains and canyons, rainforests and deserts, the Arctic and the Tropics.
Travelling slowly – on foot or by canoe or raft, and carrying his painting and camping equipment he makes his paintings in response to what he finds on his journeys.
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 aluminium 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.
He usually works on major themes which may take up to four years to complete. Visitors to Phoenix Art Museum may remember his 2009 solo show “Searching for a Bigger Subject – Watercolour Diaries from Everest and the Grand Canyon”. A major painting from that series “From Point Sublime Looking South South East – 6 Days Searching / 15 days on Site” was purchased for the Museum’s permanent collection by the MENS Arts Council in 2008 and is currently on show in our Western Art Gallery.
Foster often works in the Southwest – finding inspiration in our wild open spaces and spectacular canyons and deserts. His most recent exhibition “Sacred Places of the American Southwest” which opened in the Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe in May 2012, was purchased in its entirety by an anonymous collector for donation to a museum.
He has had numerous solo exhibitions in the UK and USA. Amongst the most notable are the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Watercolour Society (London); Yale Center for British Art; California Academy of Sciences; and the Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of Natural History), Washington DC. A major Retrospective of his work was organised and toured by the Frye Art Museum , Seattle in 2000.
He has been widely featured in the media with major articles in the Wall St Journal; the Washington Post, the Dallas Morning News, the Times (London); Condé Nast Traveller and major documentaries on BBC radio and UK television. A film about his work “The Man Who Painted Everest” has been shown many times on UK TV.
A major book about his work “Painting at the Edge of the World” was published by the University of Washington Press in 2008.
In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Cherry Kearton Medal by the Royal Geographical Society, London, for his “Artistic Portrayal of the World’s Wildernesses”.
His work is represented by Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe.