Kaikoura-based Ben Foster graduated from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in 2006 with a Bachelor of Visual Arts. He immediately found acceptance within the New Zealand art world, exhibiting at the Suter Gallery, Nelson; Centre of Contemporary Art, Christchurch; and the Mac’s Sculpture Symposium. He was the recipient of a Toss Woollaston Scholarship and a finalist in the James Wallace Art Awards. His works are now held in private collections throughout New Zealand.
Foster draws upon the physical landscape of home with his static stylised figurative works mirroring the dramatic forms of the mountains which are his backdrop. Similarly, his kinetic abstract sculptures echo the restless coastal waters and winds which swiftly reshape the stony shores. His artistic practice serves as a vehicle through which he explores human interaction which the land and the animals with which we share our lives and spaces.
In polished or enamel coated aluminium or stainless steel, Foster’s organically-inspired forms are dynamic, tactile and elegant. Others exude light heartedness and humour such as Golden Girl (2014) the family Labrador incongruously realised in bold geometric forms. The work is simultaneously endearing and daringly contemporary.
Foster is inspired by the effects of everyday phenomena. He pays homage in works which both evoke and rely upon their surroundings. The 2013 Ribbon works, for example, mimic and constantly alter with the transient effects of light on the metal bodywork. Essentially, these reflective, sculptural evocations of movement engage in a dialogue with their environment, ensuring their relevance within that ever-changing setting.
In his sculptural treatment of figurative and abstract forms, the artist points to the interconnectedness of all living things. His sculptures reference and respond to the physical landscape hinting at mutual dependencies and inviting respectful contemplation.