Nate Fors

Transformation and ambiguity are core qualities of Nate Fors’s art. Known for buoyant abstraction within painting, sculpture, and multimedia installation, Fors cleverly stages formal and conceptual shifts to constantly activate playful tension.

References to Dadaism, Abstract Expressionism, and the potent luminosity of Post-Painterly abstraction emerge in Fors’s work. His background in English literature and passion for films and music are integral anchors as well, informing visual and verbal puns and a dynamic set of aesthetic and conceptual underpinnings. Inspired by the work of French filmmaker Jean Luc Godard, musician John Cage, and writer James Joyce, the creation of an imaginative flow is a constant goal for Fors, as he hopes to foster multiple interpretations and experiences for his audience.

Slimpsy (1999), a fusion of painting and sculpture created for the 1999 Charlotte Street Awards exhibition at the H&R Block Artspace at Kansas City Art Institute, marries a directness of form with the sort of conceptually loaded irreverence that marks so much of his work. Cradled by wall and floor, the arc-shaped installation comprised a plastic trellis, vinyl, fabric, and ready-made objects—a consistent component of Fors’s work—composed as a singular painting. References to architecture and Minimalist sculpture are apparent in this and other works, exemplifying a postmodern penchant for revision and conglomeration.

The straddling of dichotomous aspects— both and nothing, accidental and intentional, humorous and serious— connects the diverse bodies of work Fors has created for over two decades. Widely recognized for ironic yet intently formal work, Fors has incorporated a range of media outside of traditional paint, including opulent inner tubes, feather boas, dog toys, tires, and lights. A lyrical, curvilinear wall installation of fiber-optic cable and lights (bold one liner, 2003) exemplifies the sensuous quality of form and composition Fors consistently achieves via unexpected means. Recent explorations with new materials, including a heightened use of digital technology, demonstrate this artist’s inclination to keep experimenting, forging surprising, fresh directions for his art.

—Heather Lustfeldt

Nate Fors’ artist page from CSF’s “10” (PDF)