For nearly 25 years, Johnston Foster’s signature approach has been his exploration of found object assemblage. Pulling from his immense inventory of salvaged/repurposed objects and materials obsessively collected and inventoried, Foster has created a body of work that has reduced the sculptural medium of his production exclusively of materials and objects that are discarded and destined for the landfill.
Foster’s approach is a tactile, improvised alchemy, and a detailed hands on approach informed by a childhood of treehouse and skateboard ramp construction and fueled by an intense wonder and gratitude for the profoundness and exuberance of existence. The objects created present open narratives and meditations on natural and creative processes and humankind’s inherent connection and coexistence to the natural world. Finding inspiration in humankind’s ingenuity and folly, Foster’s singular, analog, and rough hewn aesthetic aspires towards an art form that is both life affirming, cautionary and humble.
Foster’s initial attraction to rubbish and the discarded was it’s abundance, accessibility and variety of form, texture and malleability. The artist’s hands on manipulation and transformation of the materials revealed new levels of meaning and content. Foster could not ignore the history, experience and energy each material and object contained.
Over the last few years Foster has reduced his sculptural medium of his production to a single material: discarded and broken furniture. The many styles of furniture (varied from unique, antique, and fine crafted objects to massed produced, cheaply manufactured varieties) and the multitude of species of wood and exotic locations from which they are harvested and exported are imbued with a highly energized cluster of both global and personal histories. Foster’s material of choice and in turn his creations reflect on our environmental crossroads, globalization, notions of craft and the consequences of uninhibited consumerism. These assemblages are meant to inspire a sense of magic and wonder but also offer critical self reflection.