YOUNGSTOWN, OH.-The Butler Institute of American Art presents Eric Forstmann: Cash, Clouds, Shirts, Fruit, on view through June 29, 2008. American realist painter Eric Forstmann challenges us to look at the familiar with fresh eyes. Everyday items like kitchen stools are subject matter worthy of capture in his lustrous, realist still lifes. Forstmann's work is found in numerous collections, including: Mr. Kevin Bacon, New York; Ms. Jill Clayburgh, Salisbury, CT; Ms. Jane Curtain, Salisbury, CT; Mr. and Mrs. Don Gummer, New York; and Ms. Kyra Sedgwick, New York. This exhibition is presented in conjunction with Eckert Fine Arts, Bonita Springs, Florida.
Sarah Linford wrote the following text “Details on Eric Forstmann: A Painter’s Practice”: Eric does not do preparatory works on paper for his paintings. He will, however, sketch in a reduced six-inch scale on a dry-erase board that hangs in his studio to be sure things will work before getting too far.—The lines of these erasable drawings done in marker are loose; they describe layout, not form or detail.
When convinced an arrangement will work formally, he sets up props. 2 He will not fuss excessively over where and how to place things; the staged vignettes are carefully arranged in his head beforehand. He has collected the catalog of objects he paints over years and constantly pilfers the family kitchen for produce.
He will not take photographs or paint from reproductions. How everyday objects look to the naked eye in a particular air and light is paramount. The concrete, three- dimensional scene he will record is always set-up in front of his easel.
Before laying oil paint on the prepared hardboard, Eric will, however, sketch the arrangement in charcoal. The charcoal drawing will serve as a template for oil paint and becomes the first description of form and space for a finished work. Underneath every painting is a beautifully articulated drawing. Once he lays down base colors in paint, he will continue to refine the shapes and contours with added layers and colors until the detail in an object is crisp. His process to describe objects, light, and shadow can be lengthy or rather untroubled. He will set aside a work that suffers from a puzzling formal problem and rework it months later. Others, he explains, seem to flow effortlessly from him. All too often, Eric will forget to sign his finished works.