Exhibit of Charles Forrester's artwork to open Sept. 14 at Downing Museum
- WKU News
- Wednesday, August 18th, 2021
A retrospective exhibition of the sculpture and drawings of the late Charles H. Forrester will open Sept. 14 at the Downing Museum at the Baker Arboretum in Bowling Green.
Forrester was a longtime art professor at Western Kentucky University and started the sculpture program at WKU. This will be the first opportunity for the public to view a large-scale exhibit of his artwork since his death in 2010. The exhibit will be on display through Nov. 13 at the museum located at 4801 Morgantown Road.
In addition, a screening of the award-winning documentary film, A Line Unbroken: The Charles Forrester Story, will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 16 at the Capitol Arts Center in downtown Bowling Green. A discussion will follow with the artist’s daughter, Winifred Forrester; WKU Art Historian Guy Jordan; and former student and sculptor Russ Faxon. Register for the screening and reserve free tickets at https://tockify.com/warrenpl/detail/1407/1631833200000 (More: View the film trailer at https://vimeo.com/373483042)
The documentary has a fully illustrated companion art book, A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester, published in 2020. With insight from art historians and contemporary artists, the film and art book explore his compelling life story and six decades of artwork.
“Having a conversation with my father, it was a mind-opening experience,” Winifred Forrester said. “He viewed the world differently. You’d just be driving down the road looking out the window, and he looked out the window and he saw something different. Everything he did was looking for ideas about sculpture .... everything he did, and everywhere he looked, he was looking for ideas about sculpture and art. He lived, breathed and thought about making artwork, all the time.”
As a professor for 30 years at the University of Salford in England and WKU, he directly impacted generations of sculptors and artists, including Faxon.
“He was meticulous in his planning and engineering from the very beginning... all the way to the finished surface,” said Faxon, a member of WKU’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. “I never knew if Chuck was an engineer stuck in a sculptor’s body or a sculptor stuck in an engineer’s mind. But they always intermingled.”
Forrester grew up in New York City and received his Master of Fine Arts at the University of Oregon in 1960. Forrester also maintained a studio in the artists’ haven of eclectic East Nashville for the last 12 years of his life.
Forrester was the master of the visual pun and comes to life through his legacy -- sculptures, paintings and drawings, and journals. He was especially adept at working with the human figure, creating abstracted figurative forms in materials ranging from welded steel to laminated-plywood. His engineering prowess is reflected in his kinetic sphere sculptures and wire suspension works. His artwork captured startlingly realistic details, yet his works are highly stylized - often twisted into sly visual puzzles and riddles.
“Charles Forrester was without a doubt, a fox – clever, creative, curious, and constantly crafting analogies between things, a master of the visual pun,” said Jordan, associate professor of Art History in WKU’s Department of Art and Design.
Additional information can be found at www.charlesforrester.com.
For information about the exhibit, contact Jack LeSieur, director of the Downing Museum, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 842-7415.