Fragile Planet – Watercolour Journeys into Wild PlacesRead full artist's statement
Major solo exhibition in Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, England
For nearly 40 years I have made my art in the world’s great wildernesses – rainforests, deserts, mountains, canyons, the Arctic and the tropics. Nobody can spend long periods of time in these places without becoming concerned for their future.
Whilst painting in primary rainforest I heard chainsaws whining and enormous trees crashing to the ground. I canoed down clear rivers where gold dredgers poison the water with mercury; camped in pristine deserts knowing the prehistoric water tables were being sucked dry. In the Arctic, as the ice melts mining companies are moving into pristine landscapes. Sitting underwater on scuba, I have drawn myriads of fish of unimaginable variety and beauty to find a year later the corals bleached and the fish gone.
During lockdown, my focus was necessarily on my Cornish locality. I made a group of paintings about the natural wonders to be found on my own doorstep. Although one of the most beautiful places in the world, I believe Cornwall is as much under threat as other places. We are facing pressure from unsuitable developments. Second homes and Air B&B hollow out communities. Catchpenny tourism schemes are continually promoted. The careless destruction of nature proceeds unabated.
With the recent authoritative, and highly alarming, scientific reports on climate change and Sir David Attenborough’s compelling programmes on species loss, I realised that subtle visual messages on their own were not enough.
This exhibition was shown at Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro and Magdalene College, Cambridge. It was not only my paintings of the extraordinary places in which I have worked but also described the various threats they all face and the actions we can all take to mitigate their destruction.
- Tony Foster
Further details at the royalcornwallmuseum.org.uk
Royal Cornwall Museum, River Street, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2SJ
Call: 01872 272205
Exhibition supported by The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation, Palo Alto, California.