Friday, September 2, 2016

db Foster at the start: Outside In at Southwestern College Gallery

by Patricia Frischer

db Foster: OutSide In

Sept 1  until Sept. 22, 2016
Southwestern College Art Gallery
900 Otay Lakes Rd., Chula Vista,  91910
Monday to Thurs. 10:30 am to 2 pm Wed and Thurs. 5;30 to 8 pm More info:Daniel Foster or Vallo Riberto

Aesthetics is supposed to be a collective shared appreciation. It is not supposed to be based on prejudice or one’s background. But we are attracted to what other people like and we do seem to
like things more the longer we like them. These contradictory beliefs set up an on going argument in the art gallery world.

The art world has become a decider of what content belongs where. As soon as art is shown inside in an exhibition space, then someone has decided they like it. And if we have seen that work more than once and enjoyed it, we are likely to continue to admire it. Admiring sometimes leads to acquiring, and the art market is born. This is a closed system, very insular and profitable, but has nothing really to do with life aesthetics or some sort of decision about artistic taste which every single person is allowed to have individually. Nor does it really help us to see if there is a collective consciousness which is primal and fundamental to us all. These are some of the issues that Daniel Foster contemplates in his life. He has declared that he sees his whole life as an art work.  

Daniel Foster used his education in philosophical studies to help him follow an organic, non linear multi-faceted path in life. He happily traded a great income for great freedom. He started to make art when he discovered a voice within himself that could only be expressed creatively. He has kept this voice very private for over 30 years, filling a number of storage containers and over 30 journals. Now he finds it unnerving to share this spiritual part of himself and we are only beginning to glimpse some of the truths he has discovered.  

When Foster was in charge of the Riverside Museum and Oceanside Museum of Art, he saw his creative self as the artist using the organization as his medium. Vallo Riberto, Southwestern College Art Gallery director, shares the artist role using Daniel as his medium. He has excavated and collaborated with Daniel to put on a show that has space which leads to clarity. If the Susan Street Gallery show was claustrophobic, this one breathes easy. Like works are grouped together in this large space and your eye balls have a chance to see many things, rest and see one thing, rest and see many things again. There is also a created rhythm between large and small and between black and white and color.

Both men recognized the power of scale for this show, and several large pieces are not only site specific but were constructed in situ. Most of the work in the show uses found objects, upcycled into fine art. Much of it was photo-documentation of works that are ephemeral - carved into sand, chalk on asphalt – but elegantly reproduced on metal substrate so they became objects themselves.

Foster is a man of words. They flow easily from him and he is also a self confessed poet. It is surprising then, that the works in this show do not have titles except for one of the very colorful series of reflective vinyl, acrylic and colored pencil items called “Horror Vacuii” from 1997. Some of the art does contain words and they are be dark and disturbing. As he points out, “Not all beauty is truth and not all truth is beautiful. “

If Art deals with notions of beauty and truth, Foster relates nature to beauty very strongly and his primal shapes are his designed attempts to capture that beauty. And design is the optimal word here, as Foster is a true life designer. He has designed a focused life style. He has designed a philosophy of living, and he is constantly now designing shapes, which in the future will certainly gain life as 3-dimensional objects. When that happens, will 4 storage garages be enough? We know that he has enough art to fill hundred of exhibitions, but the true “be here now” devotee will evolve at his own pace, revealing his truth and beauty to himself and if we are lucky to us as well.

Daniel Foster can be reached at or visit his new developing website at

Large entrance work

Daniel Foster lecturing

Site specific used cardboard attached directly to the wall

Series of photo documentation of chalk works outside

Design on children's flash cards with pull tape texture

Series of photo documentation of sand works, this one with  rubber bands

Series of works done with reflective tape that shines in the dark when illuminated with a flash light

Each of the 29 strips in this composition was created on a different day in February leap year. It then reads as a visual diary of the month
Shapes of things to come, with cut outs, perhaps soon to be three dimensional. Dimmer switch is incorporated into the work....shadow is my head, hands and phone.

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