Written By: Jess Feldman

A quick chat with Robert Foster of Robert Foster Fine Art.

N MAGAZINE: How long has Robert Foster Fine Art been open on Nantucket?
FOSTER: I’m in my 7th year… we opened on January 1, 2011.

N MAGAZINE: Tell us a little bit about your background in the world of art and here on Nantucket.
FOSTER: I have been in the business for 23 years. After owning and operating my photography studio in Houston, Texas for five years, I moved to Nantucket. I took a gallery assistant job at the Artists Association of Nantucket and the following year I became the Gallery Director of AAN. After seven years there, I managed two other local galleries before opening Robert Foster Fine Art (RFFA) in 2011.

N MAGAZINE: What drew you to opening a gallery here on the island specifically?
FOSTER: The strong local art community and artists. I have know the local artists for 12 years, and having that strong depth of knowledge and those relationships has been immensely valuable.

Rebekah Lea
N MAGAZINE: What would you say is your strategy for maintaining consistency with sales in such an inconsistent market?
FOSTER: Keeping it local with quality, variety, and accessibility… Offering good art at every level with consistent market value pricing. I continue to help expand local artists’ careers and help keep the local art scene strong. My gallery fills a niche of the local artists gallery, of which there are only a few left on island. Since 1945, Nantucket’s art community has held strong in presenting quality, local art to island visitors. I plan to keep that legacy going to Nantucket and its artists.

N MAGAZINE: This month’s show, “Celebrating Abstraction” opening June 23rd, features three new artists — Katherine Miller, Rebekah Lea, and Dianna Woolley. What about each of these artists stood out to you when you were looking for artists to feature for this season’s abstract show?
FOSTER: All three are full-time artists working in their studios daily. They are always learning, growing, and pursuing a viable career as professional artists.

Dianna Woolley
N MAGAZINE: How is this show different from other themes exhibited throughout the year?
FOSTER: I try to do an abstract show every year. This one in particular features three new artists, mentioned previously. They are Nantucket artists without local commercial gallery representation. I enjoy helping to grow and develop artists to the next level in their careers. It helps them to establish themselves, develop their vision, work, and presentation… and for some, it’s a livelihood.

N MAGAZINE: If you had to pick a strength or distinguishing factor for each artist in this show, what would they be?
FOSTER: Katherine Miller works well with the “cold wax process,” giving her work a beautiful luster. Rebekah Lea works well with texture, giving her work great depth. And Dianna Woolley has a wonderful ability to use color and design, giving her work a rich palette and rhythm.

N MAGAZINE: You mention that these artists are all Nantucket artists without local commercial gallery representation. How often do you introduce artists who have never been represented by local galleries before?
FOSTER: I typically try to bring in at least one new artist every year. The gallery is always changing and expanding so it keeps things fresh and offers opportunities for artists to grow.

Katherine Miller
N MAGAZINE: How would you describe the overall theme and purpose of the show?
FOSTER: Well, abstract art often received mixed reviews. Some people believe it to be “easy” and I often hear people say, “I could do that!” What most don’t realize, however, is just how difficult abstract painting can be. Instead of referencing a subject, object, or vista, abstract is primarily created from within and from emotion. The colors, textures, and patterns carry the responsibility to create a rhythm and dialogue, and to evoke emotion from the viewer.

“Celebrating Abstraction” will open on Friday, June 23rd at Robert Foster Fine Art, located at 8 India Street. Join them for a welcome reception on the 23rd from 6 – 9 P.M.

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