Spectrum Gallery exhibition, January 2012


Steven D. Foster 
Spectrum Gallery Exhibition
January 6, 2012 thru February 25

(My last picture show.)

as of June, 2015
I am no longer represented by Spectrum Gallery.
Inquiries regarding print purchases:
contact John Sobczak, Director
a contemporary art gallery
Milwaukee, Wi.

A Gallery Talk was held Friday, February 17, 2012  6-9pm

Images in the Exhibition
Artist Statements for each of four projects  
Biographical Information
Spectrum Gallery Press Release



This exhibition includes selections from four major projects spanning 30 years: 

            The Departing Landscape Project (2007-present)
            Abstract Photographs (2004-2008)
            The Lake Series (1981-82)
            Images of Eden (1983-84)

The two early projects consist of B&W vintage silver gelatin prints.   The recent work is digital inkjet prints, mostly in color.  The exhibition as a whole could be considered as an interface of many polarities:  

           Old & New  
           B&W & Color  
           Silver & Digital 
           Still & Movement / Sharp & Blur / Narrative & Formal /  Pictorial & Abstract
           Interior Space & Exterior Space / Vast Space & Intimate Space  
          The beauty of the natural world & The decay of nature, its departure from us


Click on images to enlarge

(First wall, left of entrance,10 prints) 

The Departing Landscape Project 2007-ongoing

Inkjet prints made with Epson Ultrachrome inks on Epson Enhanced Matte Paper

A brief Artist Statement follows the 10 images

ss1  Triadic Memories: Visual Poem #1  
(blue light, bird, circle, man in box)  
27x15"  (framed  35x23")  2006  ed# 1/10

ss2  Faint Portrait  21x21" 
(framed 31x31")  2008  ed# 1/10

ss3  Figure with Lines  21x21"  
(framed 31x31")  2006  ed# 3/10

ss4  Windswept Landscape  26x18"  
(framed 34x26")  2009  ed# 1/10

ss5  Windswept Memorial  26x18"  
(framed 34x26")  2009  ed# 1/10

ss6  Combine   (circled birds on wires, triadic bull)  
18x21"  2007  (framed  26x29")   ed# 1/10

ss7  Combine  (triadic horse, abstract field)
18x21"  (framed  26x29")  2006  ed# 1/10

ss8  Abstract Photograph (grayscale, bush edge)
 21x21" (framed 31x31")  2006  ed# 1/10

ss9  Faint Figure (Man Walking Away) 18x18"  
(framed 26x26")  2008  ed# 1/10

ss10  Triadic Memories: Visual Poem #78  
(woman walking, departing landscape, waving goodbye)  
27x15  rev 2009 (framed  35x23)   ed# 1/10

The Departing Landscape  2007 - ongoing

The Departing Landscape project consists of the following series of photographs, a collection of poems, and a website:  NoToHydrofracking.blogspot.com 

Though each series in the project is a complete entity in its own right, they all share the same overarching themes: Man’s alienation from Nature, the decay of the natural world, loss, longing and transformation.
The natural world is leaving us, and it’s withdrawal into silence - often taking destructive forms - is rapidly accelerating.  We have passed the point of no return; the world we thought we knew no longer exists.  We are now living in a departing landscape.  
I offer this exhibition as a Remembrance of what we have lost, and as a question: What are we living for?  
I have found light inside some of the images here; the kind of light that quiets my mind and eases my longing, my grieving for what is lost and leaving.  The creative process insists I continue the search.   Sharing the work somehow brings me closer to You.  
                The Peace of Wild Things    
                                                                                   Wendell Berry
           When despair for the world grows in me
            and I wake in the night at the least sound
                                   in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
          I go and lie down where the wood drake
                                            rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
  I come into the peace of wild things
               who do not tax their lives with forethought
                       of grief.  I come into the presence of still water.
        And I feel above me the day-blind stars
 waiting with their light. For a time
                 I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The project title The Departing Landscape came from the writings of American composer Morton Feldman.  The phrase is his musical metaphor for the decay of sound into silence.
My heartfelt thanks to my wife Gloria, for all her support, and to our son Shaun and our daughter Jessica; thanks to Nathan Lyons - my first real photography teacher (I took Nathan’s  home workshops years before he founded the Visual Studies Workshop); and thanks to Bill Edwards for the opportunity to show my work at Spectrum Gallery.  Exhibiting in Rochester, more than 45 years after studying photography here, is a dream come true.


Abstract Photographs  - Interiors 2005-08

(Back Wall 5 prints) 

Inkjet prints made with Epson Ultrachrome inks on Epson Enhanced Matte Paper

A brief Artist Statement follows the 5 images

ss11  Abstract Interior - light blue  21x21" 
 (framed  31x31") 2005 ed# 2/10

ss12  Abstract Interior - soft triangle  21x21"  
framed 31x31" 2007  ed# 1/10

ss13  Abstract Interior - Red image  21x21"  
(framed 31x31")  2007   ed# 2/10

ss14  Abstract Interior - yellow, three vertical lines
 21x21"  (framed 31x31") 2004  ed# 1/10

ss15  Abstract Chromatic Field (vibrant grid)  21x21"  
(framed 31x31")  2008  ed# 1/10

The Abstract Photographs - Objects & Interiors 2005-2008
The Abstract Photographs are visual metaphors for my experience of the music of Morton Feldman (1926-1987) an internationally celebrated American composer and writer who lived and taught in Buffalo, NY the last seventeen years of his life.
I was listening to a live concert (in 2004) of Feldman’s masterpiece for solo piano, Triadic Memories, performed by Louis Goldstein.  The music is quiet, contemplative.  Sustained sounds from the piano become suspended in a musical space Feldman termed the Chromatic Field.  In this “field” the sounds are allowed to resonate and interact with each other until they naturally decay back into silence. 
As I was listening to this profoundly beautiful, mezmerizing music, I began seeing internal images - slowly changing shapes and colored light forms - suspended in vast space.  Then, all of a sudden I found myself experiencing the music from inside the sounds!  I had become that vastness.  Time seemed to stop; I experienced the music as stillness, as peaceful silence.
The larger photographs, the Abstract Interiors are visualizations of my experience of being inside the music, inside the sound.  The smaller Abstract Object photographs are my visualizations of the shapes and light forms I “saw” suspended before me.  The black space that surrounds my Feldman-inspired photographs represents silence.
The abstract photographs are just one part of a large Feldman-inspired project entitled Triadic Memories 2003-07 which consists of eight series of photographs that explore Feldman’s sound world and musical ideas.  
One of the eight series of photographs is entitled Chromatic Fields.  I made the Abstract Objects and Interiors by transforming selected images from the Chromatic Field series.

    Repetition Triads ~ Continuums ~ Vertical Thoughts
    Chromatic Fields
    Gridline Photographs
    Abstract Photographs: Objects & Interiors
    Triangulated Photographs
    Circled Photographs
    Visual Poems / Triadic Memories
    Combines (Triadic Memories)


Abstract Objects  2005-11

(Longest wall, right side of gallery from entrance)  

5 Abstract Objects, 12 Lake Series photographs 

Inkjet prints made with Epson Ultrachrome inks on Epson Enhanced Matte Paper

(see above for a brief artist statement)

ss16  Abstract Object (with red line down to center)  
18x18" (framed 26x26')  2008  ed# 1/10

ss17  Abstract Object  (red star)  
18x18"  (framed 26x26")  2005  ed# 1/10

ss18  Abstract Object (circled triangle with lines)  18x18" 
 (framed 26x26")  rev 2011  ed# 1/10

ss19   Abstract Object  (globe)  
18x18"  (framed 26x26")  2011  ed# 1/10

ss20  Faceless Portrait, circles, lines   18x18"  
(framed 26x26")  2007  ed# 1/10


Lake Series  1981-82

Straight Photographs 

Photo Collages

12 Silver gelatin prints made in 1981-82.

(long wall on right from entrance
continuing from the Abstract Objects)

A brief Artist Statement follows the 12 images

ss21  Lake Series, Collage  (split large rock & rock constellation)  
approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")   ed# Unique 1/1

ss22  Lake Series, Collage
(two swimmers, time bar, circle of clouds)  
approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")
ed# 1 of  3 remaining of an original edition of 5   
Purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, NY

ss23  Lake Series, Collage  
(Sun flare, multiple horizons, one swimmer, 2 buoys) 
approx. 10.75" sq. (framed 18x18")  ed# Unique 1/1

ss24  Lake Series, Straight Photos  (black wave)
approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")  
ed# 1 of  2 remaining prints from an edition of 10.

ss25  Lake Series, Straight Photos
(fisherman on left edge, wave)  
approx. 10.75" sq.  (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss26  Lake Series, Straight Photos
(2 waves, dark horizon line, white sky)  
approx. 10.75" sq. (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss27  Lake Series, Straight Photos  (dark sea, highlights)  
approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss28  Lake Series, Straight Photos  
(vast space coming to the surface of the print)  
approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss29  Lake Series, Straight Photos  (face)
approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")  
ed# 1 of 3 remaining prints from an edition of 10.  
Purchased by the Museum of Modern Art, NY

ss30  Lake Series, Straight Photos
(bright lighted clouds over lake) 
 approx. 10.75" sq. (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss31  Lake Series, Straight Photos
 (dawn light, small clouds, dark sea)  
approx. 10.75" sq.  (framed 18x18")
ed# 1of 2 remaining prints from edition of 10.  
Purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago.

ss32  Lake Series, Straight Photos (creation, spot of light) 
 approx. 10.75" sq.   (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1  
(numbered 7/10 from original edition).

The Lake Series 1981-82 
Straight Photographs &  Photo Collages

When in 1975 I was interviewing for a teaching position at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee I was taken to a viewpoint high up on a bluff overlooking The Lake.  When I saw that vast, terrifyingly beautiful light-filled space my heart just leapt up and into it.  I promised myself - then and there - that if I got the teaching job I would find a way to make some photographs that would honor that experience and that space.  
I was offered the job, and it took me six years to get up the courage to finally approach the immensity of space that so deeply attracted and intimidated me.  I started making pictures in the spring of 1981 and I worked continually on the project for more than a year.  
This body of work is - among many things - about confronting and coming to terms with the sublime nature of vast space; and it's a meditation on the horizon line, that mysterious place where water and sky meet in infinite space, and sometimes dissolves into nothing.  The placement of the horizontal line within the camera’s square format was always a challenge for me.  I was constantly amazed at how little of the vastness before me could be articulately placed into my picture’s space.
The Collages:  I had been ruminating about all the failed Lake photographs I had made.  Though many of them contained little sections of visual interest (swimmers, unique cloud formations, fascinating waves) the images as a whole were somehow incomplete.  One day, as I was listening to a symphony by Charles Ives, enjoying the way he collaged pop tune motifs into his strange and amazing music, I got the idea.   I decided to try cutting out the interesting parts of my failed photographs and collage the strips together into a new, more coherent visual reality.  
I’m fascinated by the multiple horizon lines in the collages, and the sometimes surreal, simultaneous space-time events that coexist within the picture’s unified field.  
I made friends with The Lake over the year’s time I photographed it.  I grew to respect and love its awesome presence.  The two sets of images, together, create a visual whole that I feel successfully honors The Lake, our friendship, and the heart’s leap promise which initiated the project. 


Images of Eden series  1983-84

Silver gelatin prints made in 1983-84.
(Wall to right of entrance  6 prints)

A brief Artist Statement follows the 6 images

 ss33  Eden (moon rising over dark woods, birch tree)
10x10" (framed 18x18") ed# 1 of 2  remaining prints

ss34  Eden (foggy island, trees, upper tree reaching down)  
10x10"  (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss35  Eden (dark crossed trees, pond, fallen birch)  
10x10"  (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss36  Eden (boy looking down into water, fallen tree)  
10x10"  (framed 18x18")  ed# 1/1

ss37  Eden (flowering tree)  10x10"  (framed 18x18") 
 ed# 1 of 2  remaining prints  
Purchased by the Art Institute of Chicago

ss38  Eden (Island, frame wreath of limbs and plants)  
10x10"  (framed 18x18")  ed# 1 of 2  remaining prints

Images of Eden  1983-84
The idea for this project came to me after seeing Eugene Atget’s picturesque park photographs of old Paris.  I especially liked the ones he made in the last years of his life (1920-25).  They seemed magical to me; timeless; their Eden-like mystery and romance (those flaring highlights!) sparked a desire in me to try making some myself.  
Parks of course are manufactured pieces of Heaven on Earth, a series of calculated, picture perfect compositions constructed of trees, bushes, pools, paths, stones, etc.  But when I was photographing, I became Atget in Old Paris.  When I was photographing, I saw Eden in the imagined world that was about to become my picture.  I bought into the fantasy completely.
Though critics have observed that some of my pictures may be infused with a playful bit of irony, for me this body of work remembers and honors Atget with great love and respect, and it praises an ideal of the Natural World which is rapidly fading from our consciousness.  
Images of Eden was a pleasure for me to produce, back in1983.   Today however we are living in a departing landscape.  Much of New York State’s most beautiful natural environs are under threat of being turned into an industrial wasteland by a violent, toxic gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing.  Our watersheds of fresh potable water are at risk of being poisoned beyond repair.  Our air and our health, our wildlife, organic farms and vineyards will be at risk if State Government permits hydrofracking.
Do we have enough time?  Who has the time to listen to the wind sweep through a meadow?  Who has the time to stop and feel the burdens the Earth is carrying?
Please visit  NoToHydrofracking.blogspot.com  my newest addition to the Departing Landscape project.  It contains important information about hydrofracking in New York State, and two new related series of photographs.
              There is a stillness
                     On the tops of the hills.
        In the tree tops
You feel
                   Hardly a breath of air.
                                          The small birds fall silent in the trees.
            Simply wait:  soon
                 You too will be silent.
                                                                                 Goethe, 1780

 Poetry for The Departing Landscape 


Steven D. Foster - Resume
Steven D. Foster - A Brief Bio
Steven D. Foster - Published biographical article 
Foster's Photography website  

Press Release

Steven Foster Exhibition at Spectrum Gallery

Rochester, NY--Noted photographer Steven Foster will exhibit from January 6, 2012 through February  25, 2012 at the Spectrum Gallery, Lumiere Photo, 100 College Avenue, Rochester, NY.  The exhibition will include 38 works spanning over 30 years of his career.   A free, public reception will be held on Friday, January 6, 2012 , from 6 to 10 p.m.
Foster who’s photographic career started during the 1960’s has exhibited his work through out  the United States.  His work was  included in the seminal exhibition “ Vision and Expression”  at the George  Eastman House  in 1969.  This exhibition was one of the most important events which helped to define contemporary photography as we know it today. 
Foster’s exhibition will include four bodies of work spanning the years 1981 through the present.  Included in the exhibition will be his most noted work “The Lake Series” which he created in 1981.  This body of work, among many things, is a meditation on the horizon line which Foster defines as “ that mysterious place where water and sky meet in infinite space, and sometimes dissolves into nothing.”  
William Edwards, Director of the Spectrum Gallery expressed his enthusiasm for the exhibition.  “This exhibition will illustrate, to a large part, the progression of the fine arts photographic medium through the eyes of one artist over the past 30 years.  Starting with the traditional black & white silver print through the bold expressions of color ink-jet works the photograph is defined and re-defined to the point of acceptance  today.”  
Foster, who now calls Canandaigua, NY his home, previously resided in Milwaukee where he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.    He now is Professor Emeritus and continues to be actively engaged in picture making projects.  He is also involved with environmental protection.  
His work has appeared in print in such diverse publications as the Time Life Book Photo series, The Print, to a landmark book of photographs by Peter Bunnell, The City: American Experience.  
Media:  High resolution images from the exhibition are available.  Interviews can be 
arranged.  For more information please contact David Murray at djonamurray@gmail.com


List of works for each wall with ID and Neg # info

10 prints     Departing Landscape  (var sizes)   Left wall from entrance 
ss1  Triadic Memories: Visual Poem #1, Man in Box, Ring, Bird, blue light  27x15  2006  1/10
ss2  Faint Port (Sitting topless woman)  O.F. Faint #3 21x21  2008   1/10
ss3  D 87.3-21 Figure with lines 21x21  2006  3/10
ss4  Windswept Landscape  18x26  2009   1/10
ss5  Windswept Memorial 18x26  2009  1/10
ss6  Combine   x4C -1821C  (Circled Birds on wire &  Bull triad) 18x21 2007   1/10
ss7  Combine   C D 42-1821  (Triadic Horse, Abstract Photo -letters on glass)  18x21  2006   1/10
ss8  D 5132-21AB  Abstract Photo  grayscale  2 (Bush edge Inversion)  2006   21x21  1/10
ss9  D 214-18 Man walking, faint figure  18x18  2008  1/10
ss10  Triadic Memories: Visual Poem #78  Waving goodbye, Woman Walking, foggy landscape, 27x15  rev 2009  1/10
5  Abstract Interiors  2005-08    21x21  back wall   inkjet prints  21x21”   framed 31x31”
ss11  S C31.2B24  Fence w green #1 Abstract 21x21  light blue image   2005  2/10
ss12  TS C115-21OF  Out of focus Triangulated NegPos  Abstract Photo (Square door) 21x21 2007  1/10
ss13  The Red Abstract Photograph S C60.4RC24  (Rusting brackets)  2007  2/10
ss14  S C119.424  Abstract Photo  (Rusted nuts)  21x21"  (Yellow three stripes)  2004  1/10
ss15   S C25.4-21.2 Abstract Photo Chromatic Field (vibrant grid) 21x21  2008  1/10
5  Abstract Objects   2005-11   18x18 Inkjet prints    framed 26x26”
ss16  C 110-18 Abstract Photo with red line (Double doors) 18x18  2008  1/10
ss17  C 180-18P Abstract object (Postlude red star) 18x18  2005  1/10
 ss18  TS C115-18C Circled Postlude Triangulated NegPos  Abstract Photo  (Square door)  18x18  rev 2011  1/10

ss19  TS C115-21OFC  Circled Out of focus  Triangulated NegPos  Abstract Photo 18x18  rev  2011  1/10 
ss20  D 204-18C  Faceless Portrait, Circles,  lines 18x18  2007  1/10

3  The Lake Series  Collages   1981-82 silver gelatin prints  approx 10.75” sq  dry mounted on conservation board,  framed 18x18” 
ss21  Split Rock & 4 rocks  constellation  1/1 unique collage
ss22  Two Swimmers  1 of 3 remaining collage prints from an edition of 5  (Purchased by MOMA, NY 
                                                 and in Aperture Magazine and its traveling show “Swimmers”)

ss23  Lone Swimmer sun flare  reflections and 2 Buoys  1/1 unique college


9  The Lake Series  Straight Prints  1981-2  silver gelatin prints approx 10.75” sq. framed 18x18”
ss24  9-16-81-1  Dark Wave  1 of 2 remaining prints  (5 of 10 original edition)
ss25  8-15-81-10  Fisherman, left side of image  1/1 (1 of 10 original edition) 
ss26  8-7-81-4  two waves & dark horizon line, white sky  1/1  (#4/10 original edition #)
ss27  6-9-81-12  Dark Sea with little highlights   1/1  (1 of 10 original edition)
ss28  6-1-81-1  (vast space coming to the surface of the print)   1/1 
ss29  4-30-81-6  (face)  1 of 4 remaining prints from edition of 10 (purchased by MOMA, NY)     
                              (#2/10 original edition #)
ss30  6-12-81-6  Lighted Clouds over shadowed lake  1/1  (1 of 10 original edition)
ss31  7-5-81-8  Dark Sky with clouds before sunrise  1 of 2 remaining prints (purchased by 
Art Institute of Chicago)  (#3/10 old original number)
ss32  7-23-81-4  Creation spot of light  1/1 (7 of 10 original edition)

6  Images of Eden  1983-84  vintage gelatin Silver Prints  10x10” on 11x14 paper base   framed 18x18
ss33  1-29-84-5 Moon over dark woods, birch tree, snow scene  (1 of 2 remaining prints)  (4/10 orig ed)

ss34  7-20-83-12 Foggy island of trees, tree upper right corner reaching down  (1 only)  (4/10 orig ed)

ss35  6-17-83-7 Dark Crossed trees, pond, fallen birch  (1 only)  (1 of 10 orig ed)

ss36  7-20-83-3Young Boy Looking  into water, fallen tree (1 only)  (1/10 orig ed)
ss37  Flowering Tree   (1 of 2 remaining prints)  4-30-83 (1) 2  (5/10  orig ed)

ss38  7-9-83-1  Island, wreath of trees and plants  (1 of 2 remaining prints)   (5/10 orig ed)


Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.