Denzil Forrester's vibrant, colourful works immortalise the dynamic energy of the London reggae and dub nightclub scene during the early 1980s. Pulsating with rhythm, the artist's expressive depictions of dance halls and clubs capture crowds of people moving in unison with the beat of the music. Flashes of vivid colour, gestural brushstrokes and frenetic compositions characterise his work.
Forrester explains: ‘I just wanted to draw movement, action and expression. I was interested in the energy of the crowd, particular dance movements and what the clubbers wore. In these clubs, city life is recreated in essence: sounds, lights, police sirens, bodies pushing and swaying in a smoke-filled room.'
Forrester's first solo exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery opened in April 2019, ahead of the unveiling of a large-scale public artwork for Brixton Underground Station, London by TFL in September later this year. Forrester will have a major solo exhibition of new works at Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham in January 2020 that will travel to Spike Island, Bristol in July 2020.
Forrester received a BA in Fine Art from the Central School of Art, London in 1979 and an MA in Fine Art from the Royal College of Art, London in 1983.
His works can be found in the collections of Tate, London; Arts Council Collection, UK; and Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, amongst many others. His work has been exhibited internationally at venues including The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; Tate Britain, London; Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Royal Academy of Arts, London; and Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow. His work has recently been the focus of three solo shows curated by Peter Doig and Matthew Higgs at White Columns, New York (2016); Tramps, London (2016); and Jackson Foundation, St Just (2018). This year, his work has been included in the group exhibitions ‘Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers' at Somerset House, London and ‘Artists | Steal From' at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, London. He was awarded a scholarship by the British School at Rome in 1983-85 and a Harkness Fellowship in New York in 1986-88.