The arrival in Forrester’s title is a child’s and the artist the mother. Sparingly applied oils record her caring for the newborn. On the hospital ward, the sofa, and out in the garden, she cradles the child close to her naked skin. The figures appear only in outline, as though yet uncommitted to this project. The portraits of other, established families that hang in Forrester’s interiors, in contrast, are fully rendered.
What these paintings lack in development, they compensate with universal ideas. But the scene changes when another woman emerges in gloss paint on Forrester’s transparent polycarbonate panels. Separating the picture planes from their shadows in these works is taxing. The women’s relationship must be intimate but the other nude gazes on indifferently. The gallery text finally reveals that she is, in fact, the infant’s birth mother. Forrester’s postnatal anxiety, therefore, is that of being the child’s second, non-gestational parent.
This project is timely when foundational concepts like ‘mother’ and their ‘as-though’ counterparts are readily confused. But these paintings are too tentative to add to the already overheated debate. This may be their strength but one is left hoping that Forrester’s poise as a parent grows along with her confidence with paint.