Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Andrew Forge, Fall (For P.M.), 2000, oil on canvas, 44 x 36 inches

I went to New York City a few weeks ago and bought a wonderful catalogue of Andrew Forge's work at the Betty Cuningham Gallery. Forge was a painter and a well-known art critic. His paintings are composed of tiny dots of color, a repetitive technique -- a technique of gradual accumulation -- that attracts me. Although obviously influenced by pointillism, the work is non-representational and completely modern. I think his work is honest and sincere, without exposing a sense of the artist's ego. A critic once wrote that Forge's paintings "stand as poetic meditations on the process of perception."

The catalogue includes excerpts from an interview which reveal Forge to be a great thinker with a keen insight into other artists' work, among them Giacometti, Monet, and Bonnard. Regarding Monet's late work, Forge observes that Monet begins to
realize the connection between the kind of painting that he's doing and the way in which the painting absorbs the onlooker, and the ambient consequences of this, and once the idea of a series begins to fascinate him -- all this brings into his art, at the turn of the century, so much of what constitutes our consciousness, the flow of time, the feeling that it is actually our minds that are forming and re-forming the imagery that the painter is dealing with, that these images are not, so to speak, taken from the culture at large, but are actually discovered out of individual experience.

And of course that's his modernity; he realizes intuitively that the culture is no longer providing us with those great, firm icons that it had given us in the past; that somehow modern man is thrown back onto his own nervous system, his own perceptual system, his own struggle for cognition. With Monet this is acted out in the painting; it's an extraordinary life-work.

Claude Monet, The Water Lily Pond (Japanese Bridge), 1900, oil on canvas,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

(The above quote is taken from Andrew Forge, Exhibition Catalogue 2007, Betty Cuningham Gallery, New York, NY, page 22.)


Rebecca Crowell said...

I too saw this work in NYC years ago and bought a catalog...interesting that we were both so drawn to him.

Diane McGregor said...

Rebecca, I was amazed when I discovered Andrew Forge. How lucky you were to see his work in person at that time.