British artist and filmmaker Doug Foster (b.1961) produces large scale digital film installations that play with symmetry and exploit the human eye's susceptibility to optical illusion.
On gaining a BA in Graphic Design and Animation in 1981 he began a career as a film cameraman at the BBC. Four years later he took on the role of chief lighting cameraman at one of the premier visual effects film studios in London. In 1993 Foster joined the renowned Blink Productions as a commercials director. He made films all over the world and garnered some of the industry’s highest awards, including Silvers and Golds from D&AD, BTAA and Creative Circle.
In 2006, Foster decided to devote his time entirely to making fine art. He started using newly available technologies to produce a set of finely crafted film installations about the lengths that people will go to when faced with serious challenges. For example Breather, 2006, depicts a woman’s struggle to keep her lover, who is trapped underwater, alive by repeatedly ducking down from the surface to breathe air into his mouth. Two stereoscopic eye-ports, set at head height and hip height, on a large, rusting steel-plate box, offer the only access to the haunting, cyclic spectacle inside.
More recently, Foster has turned towards large-scale projection installations that aspire to beguile at a more primal level by imposing perfect symmetry on irregular forms from nature to evoke pseudo-biological imagery. For example, The Heretics’ Gate, 2010, fills a twenty-foot high, arched screen with a fiery vision inspired by the entrance to the Sixth Circle of Hell, as described in Dante’s Inferno. Foster made the film entirely with carefully illuminated inks in water. The bilaterally mirrored flames conjure up demonic faces and distorted anatomies which are further reflected by a thirty-foot long pool of water. In 2011, the work was installed at St Michael’s Church in Camden, London, where it seemed to be further enhanced by its ecclesiastical setting.
Foster has exhibited internationally, including at NOW Later, Now Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula, London, 2014; No Beginning, No End, The Royal Festival Hall, London, UK, 2014; Out Of Our Hands, Shoreditch Town Hall, 2014; BRUTAL, Lazarides and The Vinyl Factory, London, UK, 2013; In Dreams, Cob Gallery, London, 2013; Daydreaming With...The Hong Kong Edition, Artistry, Hong Kong, 2012; Hell's Half Acre, The Minotaur and Bedlam at The Old Vic Tunnels, Lazarides, London, 2010 - 2012; Only Human, The Fine Arts Society, London, 2008; Works from the David Roberts Collection, DRAF, London, 2007.
Doug Foster lives and works in London.