Nottingham

Denzil Forrester, Itchin & Scratchin, 2019, oil on canvas, 107 7⁄8 × 81 1⁄8".

Denzil Forrester, Itchin & Scratchin, 2019, oil on canvas, 107 7⁄8 × 81 1⁄8".

Denzil Forrester

Nottingham Contemporary

Denzil Forrester’s recent rise as a significant force in painting has been as unexpected as it is apposite. Following shows in 2016 at New York’s White Columns and London’s Tramps, and in 2019 at London’s Stephen Friedman Gallery, his recent most exhibition, “Itchin & Scratchin,” was an attempt to represent his forty-year career.

Forrester arrived in the UK from Grenada in 1967, when he was eleven. In the London of the 1980s, his early works didn’t simply reflect black communities’ countercultural expression through music and the reggae, dub, and dancehall clubs where it thrived and where he was a persistent presence with his sketch pad; his paintings actively helped shape these scenes by establishing their visual identity. At Nottingham Contemporary, the first room was divided by a short, standard white partition wall such as one might see at an art show in a municipal library, seeming to

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