Hunter Foster – Dealer
September 30–November 2, 2022
Reception 5–8pm Friday, September 30
VCUarts and the Anderson are pleased to present Dealer, an exhibition of new and recent works by Hunter Foster. In Dealer, Foster poses questions about chance, meaning, authority, nationhood, and faith. Foster’s strange, circular paintings are formed by winding strips of material around a wooden core, until the accumulation of edges—concentric layers of canvas, paper, or a deconstructed American flag—constitutes an image-bearing surface. The paintings are mounted to grid-like structures of PVC pipe affixed to the gallery wall by repurposed flag brackets. In this arrangement, the paintings become coiled data sets within a codec, planets or atoms fixed in orbit, or—as the recurring title court suggests—agents and actors within ritualized structures of competitive play, romance, or civic justice.
Like Jasper Johns and Lucio Fontana, Foster’s insistence on the materiality of painting—as surface, structure, and process—is more than pagan formalism or material exhibitionism. It is a way of preparing painting to do the heavy, existential work that Foster asks it to do. He “thickens” painting, building up a durable surface like a callus or scar, storing up time and memory with each wrap, like a battery: 10 years, 20 years, 30 years—megabyte, gigabyte, terabyte. Scroll-like in their construction, Foster’s turn of the painting is a radical renewal of its symbolic potency. In that turn, the canvas becomes a cross-section in which time and distance are recorded but collapsed, made simultaneous and scrutable. All data points are brought into parity. The scroll becomes codex: a searchable database, a map, a prayer.
Hunter Foster (born 1993, Little Rock, Arkansas) works and lives in New Haven, Connecticut. He completed his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2015) and is an MFA candidate at Yale School of Art (expected 2023). In 2021, he presented a solo exhibition, Layman with Good Weather (North Little Rock) and a two-person exhibition, Better, with Justin Chance at Gern en Regalia (New York).
Poster by Bradley Sinanan.