Friday, March 21, 2008

Chuck Forsman

Feather River, 1992
Oil on panel
Collection of the NMA, Gift of Volunteers in Art

Feather River
, a frequently exhibited piece in the Sierra Nevada | Great Basin Collection, seems to be a favorite of museum visitors. Perhaps it is the unique way that Forsman has painted the river in golden colors with contrasting grey rocks, or the way he has allowed the composition to “spill over” and become part of the frame of the painting.

Chuck Forsman was born in Nampa, Idaho, in 1944, and received his BA and his MFA in 1971 at the University of California. He has studied at Pasadena College and at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine. He has had more than forty solo exhibitions since 1971, and his work is in the permanent collections of many museums throughout the western United States as well as New York. His most well known project is Arrested Rivers (1994), which focused on the subject of dams and water control in the west. Our painting, Feather River, is a part of that project; it depicts the Feather River Dam, built in 1961. The wall text notes that local Native American tribes criticized the dam project because the proposed spillway would submerge a number of pre-historic Maidu burial sites.

Forsman has also done a book of photography, Western Rider, published in 2004. Based in the Denver, Colorado area, Forsman is Professor of Fine Arts and Painting at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Research note prepared by Kathleen Durham and Lois Smalley.