Los Angeles

“A Tribute to the American Academy: Will Foster”

Ernest Raboff Gallery

With a flourish and a ready brush, Will Foster painted what he liked best in the world. His skill at pulling paint through paint is a lesson and although one can easily find his interests narrow, trivial and annoyingly modish, the virtuosity he displayed in the oil medium must be conjured with. His was a pinchable world populated with vampish women, nubile still lifes, and an occasional exotic bird—but mostly the women. He never seemed to tire of their prettiness and applied his Sargentesque heritage to the task of celebrating them with enthusiasm. The exhibition covers his work for the last 25 years of his life and shows his development toward a fluidity and looseness in handling form. “Girl in Red,” one of the last, reaches a kind of “action painting” freedom and swooping paint parts company with the figure to become an end in itself. The exhibit is rewarding because Foster knew his craft and reveled in it and also because it recalls words like “brushwork” and “mood,” terms that are strangely apropos again when talking of men like Diebenkorn and Thiebaud.

Douglas McClellan