Artist Denzil Forrester talks about his work as part of Falmouth School of Art's Guest Speaker Series.
Denzil Forrester was born in Grenada and grew up in London, where alongside his practice he taught drawing for many years. He has recently moved to Cornwall, where in 2018 artists Peter Doig and Matthew Higgs curated a retrospective of his work at the Jackson Foundation Gallery in St. Just.
Forrester's early paintings documented London's Afro-Caribbean community in the 1980s, and capture rising tension between the police and younger members of that community. Immersive and large-scale, his narrative paintings, which frequently convey community and nightclub scenes, mix the autobiographical with the political. His work is rich, complex and highly sophisticated. The strength of his draftmanship and his extraordinary use of colour enable him to bring to his canvasses dynamic movement, and purposeful power.
Forrester received a BA in Fine Art from the Central School of Art, London in 1979 and an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London in 1983. He was awarded a scholarship by the British School at Rome in 1983-85 and a Harkness Fellowship in New York in 1986-88. His works can be found in the collections of Tate, London; Arts Council Collection, UK; and Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, amongst many others.
His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Tate Britain, London; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Royal Academy of Arts, London; and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. His work has recently been the focus of three solo shows curated by Peter Doig and Matthew Higgs at White Columns, New York (2016); Tramps, London (2016); and Jackson Foundation, St Just (2018).