Fredericka Foster is an American painter, cultural activist and educator, born and raised in Seattle, Washington.
Foster ‘s paintings of water actively engage the visual and kinesthetic senses inviting contemplation through our relationship to water; its physicality and resonance in the body, its environmental and socioeconomic forces; psychological meaning and transformative properties.
Growing up surrounded by water, and with a Sami great-grandmother, Foster has a mythical reverence for water and water culture. As a cultural activist, through her painting and exhibition curating, Foster raises and sustains dialogue, transforming our understanding and misperceptions in relation to the environment. Foster is the founder of www.thinkaboutwater.com, a water advocacy website that gathers cultural activists, features their work and strengthens the cause together.
In an earlier acclaimed painting series, Transforming the HIV Protease, Foster appropriated scientific imagery to transform the shapes of the HIV virus, mutating the protease into less harmful forms, including a rose, which has also been a subject in her work. She has continued engagement with scientists attending and presenting her work at the Sage Assemblies in Paris and Seattle (2017-2019).
In 2019, Foster collaborated with performance artist Giana Pilar Gonzalez on a workshop for college educators titled Water Journeys, at the Foundations for Art Theory and Education in Columbus, Ohio. Each participant explored in images their own journey with water, and discussed with the other educators. She also taught Art, Activism, and the Salish Sea at the Seattle Artist League in 2018 culminating in an exhibition and art-activist book.
Foster’s notable one-person shows: Water Way, Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries at Clarkson University, Beacon, NY; five solo exhibitions titled Water Way at the Fischbach Gallery, NYC (2013, 2009, 2006, 2004, 2002); Deus/Virus: Transforming the Protease, Riverrun Gallery, Lambertville, NJ; Transforming the HIV Protease, The Norbert Considine Gallery at Stuart Country Day School, Princeton, NJ.
Group shows (selected): CoCA Members exhibition (2019, 2020), The Value of Sanctuary, Cathedral St. John the Divine, NYC (2019); Motherland: 2019 CoCA, Seattle, WA; The Big League Art Show, Galvanize, Seattle, WA (2018); The Salish Sea Show: Art, Activism and the Salish Sea, Seattle Artists League, Seattle, WA (2018); The Christa Project: Manifesting Divine Bodies, Cathedral St. John the Divine, NYC (2017); “18” Fischbach Gallery, Miami Beach, FL; Clio Art Fair, NYC; Think Big, Fischbach Gallery, Miami Beach, FL (2016); The Endless Summer, Fischbach Gallery, Miami Beach, FL and In Plain Sight/Hindsight, Fischbach Gallery, Miami Beach, FL; The Value of Food, Cathedral St. John the Divine, NYC; Value of Water, Cathedral St. John the Divine, NYC (2012); Written on the Wind, Rubin Museum of Art; NYC; Places, Jim Kempner Fine Art, NYC; les Fables de las Fontaine, The Meyerhoff Gallery, The Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, MD; The Flag Project, (String #5), Rubin Museum, NYC; Fables, The Jacob Lawrence Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; Well heeled, Kirkland Arts Center, Kirkland, WA; Mind/Body, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lawrenceville, NJ; les Fables de la Fontaine, Temple University, Rome, Italy; Centre pour L’art et la Culture, Aix-en-provence, France; Turtle Times, Studio D’Ars, Milan, Italy; Bumberbiennial, curated by Matthew Kangas, Seattle, WA; Mary Mary, Seattle Underground Film Festival, Seattle, WA.
Guest Curator: The Value of Water at the Cathedral St. John the Divine, inviting 40 artists with over 200 artworks.
Her work has been reviewed in ARTnews, Tricycle Magazine, Columbia Daily Spectator, The Highlands Current, Nautilus: Science Connected, Alternet, Huffington Post, Inhabitat, NYArts, University of Washington Press, others. Recent interview: Yale University Radio with Brainard Carey.
Publications: “The Smaller the Theater, the Faster the Music,” Conversation between composer Philip Glass and painter Fredericka Foster, Nautilus (science magazine), “Artists Celebrate the Salish Sea: A Collaboration,” “Early Renaissance: Art History Through Touch and Sound” Developed by Art Education for the Blind, Inc. and Foster Shapiro, Fredericka Foster and Hilda O’Connell. Foster collaborated with a braille artist, art historian/artist Hilda O’Connell and blind volunteers to develop verbal descriptions that could bring the artworks alive.
Collections: Commerce Bancshares, Comcast Corporation, Garrison Institute,
General Electric, Merck and Company, Microsoft Corporation, Morgan Stanley, The Pierrepont.
Foster graduated from the U of W, BFA (1972); and studied and taught at The Factory of Visual Arts (1972-3), an alternative art school.