Mother Dog Studios: Jeff Forster

Mother Dog Studios is, according to their website, “the largest and oldest surviving artists working warehouse space in Houston. Founded in 1984 by Charlie Jean Sartwelle and John Runnels, MotherDogStudios was a response to the visual arts communities need to provide working studio/exhibition space for local and visiting artists. It is a 22,000 square foot warehouse with 16 studios and an expansive exhibition space called the Mother Dog Museum of Modern Art.”

Currently on exhibit is work of Jeff Forster. Forster is the Ceramics Chair at the Glassell School of Art. Being aware of Forester’s work for a few years now, I was really looking forward to seeing this exhibit since it encompasses 10 years of work. Frankly, I was not disappointed (which I sometimes/often am).

There are essentially two parts (bodies of work) to this exhibit. One I’ll call “permanent objects” and the other I’ll call “ceramic pieces as paintings”. The “permanent objects” works were done around 2009-2011 and come from Forster’s memories of being a child and wandering the woods around his home. Coming across piles of rusted auto parts, he became fascinated with the old pieces-parts and the idea of making up what they were actually used for. As an adult artist, he revisits this relatable theme through the language of ceramic art.

The “ceramic pieces as paintings” came after “permanent objects”. This is a conceptual body of work (meaning that the fact that it’s in ceramic doesn’t really matter) in which Forster is channeling his inner Jackson Pollock and acting as an expressionist. The modern movement of abstract expressionism is widely associated with painters and printmakers who use(d) physical gestures in the creation of artworks. Forster similarly uses very expressive movements but creates 3-dimensional, conceptual pieces that are a joy to spend time with.

You can read the writeup in the Houston Press here.

The exhibit is on display at Mother Dog Studios (720 Walnut St., Houston, 77002) through August 15 at which time there will be a closing reception from 10:00am -12:00pm. You can also view the work by appointment by calling 713/229-9760.

If you see something you like, contact the artist by email (jforester@mfah.org) or phone (618/910-9229). Be sure to tell him you saw his work here at HALT713!

(All photos by Matt Adams.)

One thought on “Mother Dog Studios: Jeff Forster

  1. I’ve seen other examples of this dredged-from-the-remains work, but none realized so fully and satisfactorily. This is a show worth visiting and in a venue that resonates its beauty and soul.

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