Centre of Contemporary Art
Kaikoura-based sculptor, Ben Foster, works in bronze and aluminium with images derived and abstracted from the natural environment. His interests are frequently political, addressing conservation, endangered species and the impact of commercial activities on the south Island. Since 2007, following a visit to Europe, Foster has developed a growing interest in working with cast bronze, with some recent pieces engaging playfully with "appropriation art." One such work is his Mr 4 with Peacemaker - a sculpted re-imaging of a graphic image (Dick Frizzell's Four Square Man) and thus precisely analogous to Michael Parekowhai's Kiss the Baby Goodbye rehashing of Gordon Walters' Koru paintings (frizzell and Walters themselves appropriating the visual legacy of Kiwiana and Maori culture respectively) Whilst Foster's Mr 4 is, undeniably, a figure of fun, the brandished pistol is a salutary reminder that the appropriation intrinsic to art-making is basically a political activity, and thus a reflection/projection of relations of power. Foster graduated from the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology in 2006 and works as a professional sculptor.
Text by Dr. Warren Feeney & David Kahn (2009)