“I’m certainly no purist (with regard to ‘wood working’), so traditional craftsman will have to forgive the fact that my focus is elsewhere. I simply love to work with the material, as a painter relishes his paint. Yes, ‘the medium is the message’, ‘form IS content’ etc., those old academic saws are valid… but in the case of my works in wood, the medium serves my own more deliberate message or allusion. In addition to my enjoying the process of working with wood, I feel that it offers a visual richness and tactility that instinctively engages folks quite immediately, and perhaps invites them to stay a bit longer to explore what might be there.”
Crux, 25x17, woods, oil paint, collagePE Foster $ This one is a spin-off from my recent piece "Querencia", with a shared theme of nature coping under the heavy foot of human technology.
Jaunt, 16x32, woods, oil paint, collagePE Foster $ Reflecting on my times, it's interesting to be alive during the technological revolution… observing technology's impact upon nature, and we humans ourselves. Keeping pace with all the new "stuff" is one thing… our psychology staying both grounded while in constant adjustment is another.Even for those whose lives are immersed in the service of technology, there is a subtle angst to keep up & constantly shine their edge. And then there are those whose interests are fully outside of the binary spread, and consequently feel progressively alienated by the sprawling new digital world around them.This is age old stuff to be sure, (generation passage)… what's different is the dimension, and...pace.p.s. I considered entitling this one "Luddite's Repose", which would have promptly teed up a psychodrama - but somehow that title seemed too immediate… the piece needed a title that echoed its "slower pace". 😉
Jackalope • 29x19, basswood, acrylics, oils, metal, rabbit feet, $3200To be consistent, I suppose I should comment about this piece as I've done with all the other works on this site... (oh Lord help me). My wife and I have a little collection of antique cigarette signs, and I thought it might be fun to make one of my own for the collection... Mix in a spontaneous desire to incorporate a cultural anomaly of the American West, add three jiggers of levity, ...and you get something like "Jackalope" here.
Jackalope, detail • 29x19, basswood, acrylics, oils, metal, rabbit feetP.E. Foster
SOLD - Reach, 60x36, varied woods, metal, leather, oil paint - PE Foster $6950Astronauts are a brave bunch… pioneers, the point of our human spear, piercing into new frontiers. As a babyboomer, astronauts were more a part of the cultural adrenalin then than they are just now. I remember watching Neil Armstrong first step on the moon on a rabbit-eared B&W TV. - There's more buzz about Mars lately, so perhaps that vibrance will return. I had been doodling some cowboy 'things' in my sketchbook, (cowboy as metaphor for the past)… and then my pencil veered to the complement… an astronaut (metaphor for the future). I began to play and combine them in various ways to see how I might juxtapose these polar images. Settled on a doodle, made me a sketch… 'n took it to wood.
SOLD - Wormfood • 38x17, poplar wood, oils, plastic grass - $2900"I'm veering into signage with this one I suppose. But cultural aphorism's often amuse me, and I thought that this expression "Worm food" was quite a loaded & visual one. It's two simple words that launch a complex & profound question. - Of all the wood pieces shown on this site, I've observed that it is this one that most puzzles viewers. Some folks are lead right to laughter, others appear uncomfortable with the bold, yet ambiguous message. Just what is the artist saying here? Is this a religious put down of atheism ... or an atheistic skepticism towards notions of the after life? - I'll let you decide. ----- In signage parlance... I'm merely "advertising" my participation in one of the timeless mysteries of life."
SOLD - Smoked • 52x36, pine & cedar woods, oils, fire, $4800"This one is admittedly more nostalgic for me personally. For 9 years, (from 1977 to '85) I spent my summers working for the U.S. Forest Service in the beautiful Uinta mountains of Utah. Among many tasks, the Forest Service decided to take advantage of my art skills, and had me router many wooden signs, and create a few public displays for the Ranger Station. - Those wood projects for the Forest Service kickstarted my relationship with wood, and driving & hiking those unspoiled places gave me a lasting appreciation for the "wild places" in this country. My years with the Forest Service, and the grandeur of the western U.S. are certainly seminal for some of the other environmentally themed wood works on this site. " * I'd like to give acknowledgment to my two collaborator's on this piece... Mr. Beaver, and Mr. Bug. Yes, the cedar log frame here was actually chewed by a beaver, and the surface of the logs beautifully etched and channeled by the excavations of bugs under the bark .
SOLD --- Beesting, 30x34, aluminum stop sign, pine, bass & oak woods, oil paint - P.E. Foster $3900It seems our dear little honeybee is under siege....toiling under forces both natural and man-made. To the rescue is even more technology - Monsanto's efforts to tweak honeybee DNA molecules (to mite proof them)...Harvard's RoboBee project, an effort to create little mechanical pollinating drones. Many beekeepers suggest less intrusion on all fronts.
Analog Trail - DETAILP. E. Foster $7200 - SOLD
SOLD - AnalogTrail, 48x36, bass, cedar, oak, plywood, paper, barbed wire, electronics - P. E. Foster $7200 - Jon Sharp (LED Technology)Many will recognize the parody I employed in this work, basing it on Jame Earle Fraser's famous "End of the Trail" (1915), in which Fraser pays tribute to the Native Americans, and the fading of their prevalent culture. Similarly, I've hoped to allude to the rapidly passing analog-based culture....with its fire fading amidst the incoming digital storm.
SOLD - Querencia, 51x36, hand carved wood and oil paintingPE Foster Title: "Querencia" - 2017 Size: 36" x 51" Medium: Woods, oil paint, collage The bison as a symbol for untamed nature and the wild places… solidly American. You can find its image in popular culture, on the National Park Service emblem, …and brazed into the American psyche. As someone who loves the wilderness (and has had an imprudent eye to eye encounter with wild bison in Yellowstone), the bison was a prime candidate for my desire to create an image that referred to man's encroachment and subjugation of much of nature. I love searching for a title to a piece as it evolves, … and my growing list was swept aside when I recalled this intriguing spanish word, "querencia" - (from Wikipedia): Querencia is a metaphysical concept in the Spanish language. The term comes from the Spanish verb "querer," which means "to desire." Querencia describes a place where one feels safe, a place from which one's strength of character is drawn, a place where one feels at home. In bullfighting, a bull may stake out his querencia, a certain part of the bull ring where he feels strong and safe.
About the Artist
Phil Foster has been working as a freelance editorial illustrator since 1986 for myriad national publications, and is represented by Gerald & Cullen Rapp in New York City. His recent return to his personal art bears the influence of those “editorial years” as the work is often pointed in its narrative social commentary, often with a whimsical or satirical undertone. Wood is the core medium throughout these pieces, with minor migrations incorporating other mixed materials.
Phil received his B.F.A. in painting from Utah State University in 1982 and his M.F.A. degree in printmaking from Wichita State University in 1985.