Entering the ‘Über-Painting’ watercolour-world of Matt Forster, is akin to being surrounded by a hall of the most divine mirrors. You’ll find no tricks nor deviations, no jokes at your physical-expense, simply a wall-to-wall reflection of light and shade, masterfully manifested from his soul to your own. Something of the enigmatic follows your every move, at first, present in the means by which the colour seeps into the skin of the paper, then, subtly doing an ‘ole blue eyes’ and sliding beneath your own. In short, his pieces are, quite literally, a breathtaking testament to how intensively enmeshed Matt is with each one and a certain precursor to their effect upon the viewer.
My first Über-experience happened on a day of firsts, at ‘The Other Art Fair’*, whereupon, my inquisitive nature all but galloped a domino-falling tirade of questions, regarding how he did this and why he did that! Indeed, how he managed to answer anything fully, remains a mystery, but answer them, he did…I recall being rather surprised at the candid nature with which he revealed the intricacy of his ever-developing technique… His website describes it thus, ‘An überpainting is like a silk screen print in watercolour as they consist of between three and five layers of different coloured paint applied independently and sequentially darker in tone. I mix colours from a primary base and it is the application of these successive layers that provides the images with the startling three dimensional impression.’** In real-time I was becoming further absorbed into the vortex of porous, primary-colour distinctions being reworked and, somewhat, wooed into place by the fluidity of its transparent, watery home. I came away, excited to see a similar aesthetic of simplified line, form and colour, in a new setting, as well as, feeling humbled by such a prolific ability to do so.
My most recent encounter was at ‘The London Illustration Art Fair’, yet another first of its kind! Underneath Hoxton Arches, gorged-to-the-gills with personifications of artesanal collaborations, it was a pleasure to revisit the British Isles through Matt’s viewfinder and, once again, become mesmerised by the works which, this time, seemed more pointedly abstract. But, as I was quickly shown-and-told, there was so much more where they came from, and goodness me, did I see some absolutely incredible examples! Now, I know that you’ll want me to select a favourite…but, quite frankly, I can’t choose just one! Instead, I’ll say that the more abstract, the better, in my book…purely because there is less room for cognitive predictive-processing and rather more space to ‘Sherlock’ the scenes. Just as the white spaces facilitate a void, so too, are you gently guided to feel, think or sense, or not, in your own time…That’s the best you’re going to get!
What I’ll go on to say, however, is that you cannot forego the chance to stand before Matt’s art. It is Über! Not only this, but the guile with which the movement is addressed, from wine-glass (naturally, for mixing purposes), to brush, to full-bleed hue, is so vividly witnessed within each vignette, as to encapsulate the rise-and-fall of a breathing planet. In the Über-painting studies, we have a journal of a Britain which is constantly in flux, thus a keepsake for our unique Isles and an intensely open-book, which grips you, from beginning, to end!
I am truly looking forward, with great expectation, to the next exhibited volume!
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TESTIMONIAL FROM MJ FORSTER