Richard John Forbes lives and works in George, South Africa as a visual artist.
His process drives his practice. A strong emphasis is placed on physical engagement in his work. This attention can be seen and experienced clearly in the textures, layers, and exploration of form translated from his hands into his work. «I am interested in the veil suspended between all things, the charged film of atmosphere my is a compulsion to gain experience with many different media and this toolbox of multiple disciplines allows me to explore every idea I have relating to a potential filamentary thin membrane separating everything».
My practice includes sculpture, installation, public work, Land art, Printmaking, Painting, film, document, and drawing. Furthermore, through collective and group practice I seek out ways of reaching through that membrane to expand experiences and awareness. I have had multiple solo exhibitions in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and participated in more than 40 group shows.
My work stands in private collections and on public sites in the South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Australia, The Netherlands, France, and United Arab Emirates. I have curated two critical exhibitions, one 30 person group show and 1 a dedicated solo for Rhett Martyn. I have stages designed a sold outplays, The Suit by Can Themba, directed by James Ncgobo at the market theatre, and «Florence» by Myer Taub. Guest Lecturer at Pretoria University, SA and a guest speaker at the university of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA.
Residencies / Workshops:
September: Karoo Residency At MAP SA Richmond, Northern Cape, South Africa. Bookmaking, block-printing, and preparation of «Black Room», a space in the black to assemble black artworks.
April: A shy restrained pink thing goes outside in a field for an adventure. Shot by drone from above. Forbes Studio, Die Eiker Farm, Blanco, George, Western Cape, South Africa.
March: Lockdown into contemplation meditation and film editing.
January: Occupation of the new Forbes Studio, Die Eiker Farm, Blanco, George, Western Cape, South Africa. The intention of this studio project is to conserve and restore this building built in 1731. I am interested in what will come to me on this journey and how that will feed into my work.
November: A shy restrained pink thing went on a protest march against climate change, York street, George. Bloemfontein- Vortex 6 and ellipse are shown in a curated collection by Johann Duplessis. Abyss showed in verf dit swart, paint it black at Aardklop Nasionale Kunste fees 2019 Potchofstroom, South Africa by the festivals artistic director Dr. Johan Thom (Senior Lecturer, University of Pretoria). Blow your sculpture 4 glass pink balloons and A shy restrained pink thing show at the Pretoria art museum.
July: Pretoria «Star sailors» 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, 4 dry print set called lucid sedation.
March: Participated in BLOW YOUR SCULPTURE A shy restrained pink thing and glass blown versions thereof are on this exhibition at the Pretoria art museum on until April 29.
January – April: Continued residency at Nirox and project 58 while constructing a large water-driven lathe device that makes spinning tops.
December: Residency @ Nirox Foundation sculpture park, A shy restrained pink thing and Preparation of poplar timber for Synesthesia of water device for the 2019 Nirox winter sculpture fair open 1st May.
September: A shy restrained pink thing shows at SMELT glass foundry, Victoria yard, Johannesburg.
August: Stage set for Florence at the Market theatre, Johannesburg.
July: Tenna Switzerland- Alps Art Academy and symposium on land ans art of the land.
June: Sioux City Nabraska – A shy restrained pink thing visits native America – Lacota Tribal Spiritual Practice.
February: A shy restrained pink thing - Exposed, revived and blessed in Die OOG, Groot Marico, North Western Provence, South Africa.
January: A shy restrained pink thing - Exposed at Harrie Siertsma’s MAP Gallery, Grass Kop, Mpumalanga, South Africa in collaboration with BLOCH of Bloch Global, Comcom curated by Roger Gentinetta. Exposed under Mary Shires falls, Grass kop, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Exposed in London Forestry Arbor, Grass kop, Mpumalanga, South Africa in collaboration with BLOCH Global, Comcom curated by Roger Gentinetta.
December: A shy restrained pink thing - Exposed on the roof of Luis Alonzo Barkigia’s Studio, New Jersey, the snow in New York skyli ne in the distance, USA. Exposed in an indigenous Swamp land being cleared for development. Savanna Georgia, USA. Exposed to a Peterbuilt cement truck, Cement factory, Wynwood Walls, MIAMI BASEL, Miami , FL,USA. Exposed to Miami south beach pier and sunset, MIAMI BASEL, Miami beach FL, USA. Exposed in room 263, The original Play Boy Bunny Club, Plaza hotel, South Beach, FL, USA MIAMI BASEL.
November: A shy restrained pink thing - Exposed to Coffs Harbor Airport - Parachute drop zone New South Wales, Australia. Exposed to Coffs Harbor Jetty, New South Wales, Australia.
October: A shy restrained pink thing - Exposed to Knysna, Oak Arbor, Western Cape, South Africa. Exposed in Tsitikama nature reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. Unexposed at home, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. Exposed on Tieties Baai island, Paternoster, Western Cape, South Africa. Exposed at Modern Art Projects - Richmond, Northern Cape South Africa
October: Participated in «WORDS» Exhibition and literary festival at Nirox Sculpture Park and foundation. De-codex and Dark Codex.
September: A shy restrained pink thing - Exposed at Nirox Foundation, Marapeng, Gauteng, South Africa, In collaboration with Hector Hernandes Rosas for Willem Boshoff's birthday party. First exposure at the Cosmopolitan during JHB Art fair and JHB art week, Maboneng, Johannesburg, South Africa.
June-July: Matadero Madrid- El Ranchito Nigeria-Sud Africa residency. A body of sacred Spanish Alabaster works created in 6 weeks. On residency with Sophia Van Wyk, Hector Hernandes Rosas, Mar Guerrero, Taiye Idahor, Christian Newby, Gloria Oyarzabal, Obina Makatta culminating in a group exhibition «YO COMO CALIDAD» I BUY QUALITY.
June: Installed SONAR SOUND – Hermanus Old Harbour for the Hermanus cliff walks annual sculpture exhibition. A sound resonant steel disc 4m in diameter raised 1.5m off the ground to oscillate to the puling of the wind and the sea.
May-June: «The Suit» by Can Themba. Opened at the Market Theatre Johannesburg, South Africa. Stage and sets designed by Richard Forbes, directed by James Ncgobo
January: «Spire» - A White south African marble petroglyph. Installed at the old Enrico Daffonchio house, designed by Architect Douglas Cowin in the Bauhaus style 1930s. Houghton, Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa. Jade Hamburger collection.
May 1st: Winter Sculpture Fair at Nirox Sculpture Park. CO-curated by Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK. Dark Codex - a volume In pursuit of Darkness. This spacious sculpture event will run until the end of July and is free to the public on weekends except when there is a fixed event.
November 19th: Artist proof studio at Absa Gallery, Absa Towers East, Johannesburg. 4 Drypoint etchings. «Lucid Sedation» 1-4.
October 1st: Transitions at the post office. The old Transvaal post office 1906, 20 Solomon st, Vrededorp, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa. Curators - Richard J Forbes and Danny Myburg. #30 Artists - one big night! Ellipse - a 9 foot suspended wooden void and 4 evolved drypoint prints.
September: Johannesburg art fair- represented by Artist proof studio.
August: Turbine art fair-Artist proof studio - newly evolved Drypoint prints.
May: Nirox winter sculpture fair Marapeng, Kromdraai, Cradle of humankind, Gauteng, South Africa. Vessel - A 9 foot cast iron permanent record of a dance.
May: Vessel is unveiled @ The Winter Sculpture Fair, Nirox sculpture garden, Marapeng, The cradle of humankind, South Africa.
May: «Twister» exhibited @ Hazzard Gallery, Maboneng, Johannesburg, South Africa.
December: Vortex 5 at BRUNDYN+ Gallery's summer show «Anyway» the wind blows» Cape Town.
November-December: Artist Residency at Nirox Foundation. Exploring new works in stone, and performance.
October: «Paper» a Group exhibition at Artist Proof studios exploring alternative, sculptural uses of paper.
August: Nirox project space #3 with Stephan Erasmus and Ansi Nitingeka.
June: Turbine art fair with Prince Albert Gallery.
May: Nirox winter sculpture exhibition. Joburg Exhibition.
March 1st & 8th: On the roof of corner house, Commissioner Street, Johannesburg.
September: Vortex 1 installed at Spier wine estate, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, RSA. Milwaukee print shows at Johannesburg art fair with Artist proof studios alongside 4 New prints from the star walker series relating to water bearer.
August: Res gallery Jan Smuts ave, Johannesburg. Processed a solo exhibition exploring the digital process of the brain through print and sculpture.
March 13th: University of Milwaukee - Guest speaker and print collaborative workshops until the 23rd. Vortex 1 & 2 ( large steel structures ) unveiled at the Nirox sculpture park, Maboneng, Gauteng, South Africa for the «After the Rainbow nation» exhibition. The opening date to be announced for the end of March.
September: Represented by Artist Proof studio & David brown Fine Art at Johannesburg art fair. Invitation by Elena Rocci to contribute to her and Rhett Martyn's architectural art installation at Gifa ( Gauteng institute of Architecture) during the Art fringe festival. Braamfontein, JHB, Gauteng South Africa. Participated in the Prince Albert art fair. Print & sculpture.
May: Participated in 21 years of Artist proof studios at Johannesburg Art Gallery. «Water Bearer» lino print 1m by 1800 m
15 March- 15 April: A.R.C @ Gibs ( Gordon institute of business science), Ilovo, Johannesburg, South Africa.
December: Marvelous world 5-Prince Albert Klein Karoo. Sarel Petrus, Guy Dutoit Richard John Forbes, Paul Cooper.
September: Monumental Wood carving mentorship for Pretoria university. 3rd year students produced work to stand on the grounds of the university around a newly created lecture hall. Trees were sourced from the excavations to offset the carbon footprint of the site. Installation of works in January 2012.
September: Artist proof studios showed at Johannesburg Art Fair.
May-August: A.R.C. @ JAG - Mid-career retrospective solo show at Johannesburg Art Gallery.
February: Marvelous World- 4 male sculptors, Richard Forbes, Guy Dutoit, Sarel Petrus, Paul Cooper. Venue- Fried gallery Pretoria.
March: Female dirigible «aviatrix» exhibited on a Christian Nerf disposable experience, Cape Town, wood stock.
April: Exhibited published print collection on the Johannesburg art fair courtesy of Artist proof studio. Africa burns - Purged «The kiss» with fire.
July: Prints and monuments of «Courage» and «elevator» @ Grand Provence, Franschhoek, Western Cape.
September: Exhibited «Courage» along with with 20 respected sculptors in the «Rooftop» exhibition, St. Lorient wedding and dress design venue, Pretoria. This show moves to the University of Johannesburg gallery for an opening on the 7th of October to be open for 2 months.
October: «Quiet revolution» print exhibited and sold for the fundraiser of Artist Proof Studios at gala dinner Mastre Antonio. Participated in «Taped», a Public art experiment by Rhett Martyn at Inscape design school, Rosebank, Johannesburg.
November: Printed an addition of «A.R.C @ JAG» for the Johannesburg Art Gallery centenary book to be launched on the 28th in November 2010. Part of the series of prints to be shown in May of 2011 «A.R.C» a mid-career retrospective.
December: «Sarah's world» and «Courage» show on «Angels» Gallery at Grande Provence, Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa.
December: Research for Exhibit a mid-career retrospective show at JAG in May of 2011.
September: Exhibited along with 20 sculptors in the «Rooftop» exhibition, St. Lorient wedding and dress design venue, Pretoria. This show moves to the University of Johannesburg gallery for an opening on the 7th of October to be open for 2 months.
May: The art room, Melville JHB«Composing cats series» linocut prints.
April: Exhibited a «quiet revolution» print and a printed dirigible on the Johannesburg art fair courtesy of Artist proof studio.
January: Commenced creation, completion, and installation of 2 public works for Berea, Johannesburg commissioned by the JDA through the trinity Sessions. «Courage» and «Elevator»
November: Assisted Guy Dutoit with a 3m/3m/3m concrete wave for Jeffreys Bay, Eastern Cape. Marvelous World- 4 male sculptors, Richard Forbes, Guy Dutoit, Sarel Petrus, Paul Cooper. 3 venues over one year. Outlet- at Pretoria tech. Bag factory -Johannesburg. Off the wall - Paarl in the Cape.
February: «Courage» - Mixed media 3m high sculpture in Mozambique. Private Commission - door for Michelangelo. The King suite. 18 months completed and installed.
November: Participated in a wood block/lino cut printing work shop hosted by JHB art bank and Artist Proof studio. Produced the «Composing cats series».
September 22nd & October 13th: Quiet Revolution concluded in SA in a solo show at The Premises Gallery, Johannesburg Civic theatre.
August: Assisted William Kentridge with a wooden horses for his forth coming opera «The Nose». Horses shown at the Goodman Gallery.
July: Quiet Revolution hosted at the Topsy Foundation (haven for Aids afflicted families and orphans).
June: Commenced work on «SAND ANGEL AND SHAMAN» the entrance of the pent house suite of the Michelangelo towers, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa.
April: Carved two monumental sculptures for Johannesburg Art bank to be placed at Johannesburg Water, named The Fluid Couple (two 3m high wood carvings depicting water towers, as I interpret them).
March: Blue Gum project sponsored by Absa, in Prince Albert, Klein Karoo. Five monumental trees carved and four carvers trained. Finished sculpture called The Burghers of Prince Albert.
December: Submitted a print and a spinning top (Quiet Revolution) to the National School of Arts for its traveling exhibition of the East, beginning in Singapore.
June: Workshop at St Stithian's College Cultural Day with 1000 attendees.
June: Workshop/show The Quiet Revolution at Artist proof Studio with approximately 100 students.
May: Completed one Miniature Theatre for William Kentridge's‚ Magic Flute‚ projections. Project destination: Paris.
May: Provided Absa Bank with commissioned trophies for Absa Atelier Award 2006.
February: Ripple Exhibition at Absa Gallery, Johannesburg (8-24 Feb).
January: Established Richard J Forbes school for sculpture.
February: Beginning of «Blue gum project».
March: Research film trip to Zimbabwe and Botswana Produced «4 rivers» digital film.Part of the MTN art collection. Commenced production of «With Logs» exhibition.
April: Completed scale model display theatre for William Kentridge's «Magic Flute» as seen at La Monne' opera house , Brussels, Belgium.
May: Commenced film production of «The Somnambulist» with technical assistance from Craig. A transparent night watch self portrait. Submitted «The Somnambulist «to Brett Kebble ward.
July: «With Logs» solo exhibition opened at 157 Jan Smuts Ave, Johannesburg.
September: Commissioned to create 5 more miniature theatres for William Kentridge destined for Italy, New York, Zurich, Paris.
October: Exhibited on group show at Michael Angelo Tower Mall, Sandton, Johannesburg by invitation from the Trinity Session.
November: Completed 3 Miniature Theatres for William Kentridge's «Magic Flute» projections.
December: Commenced production for new exhibition; «RIPPLE» at ABSA Gallery, down town Johannesburg.
February: Completed 4th and last monument model for William Kentridge.
March: Exhibited through ORT South Africa at the chief Rabbi Cyril Harris Sinagogue.
April: Resident at the Gordart Gallery, 3rd Ave, Melville, Jhb, SA. With thanks to Gordon Froud the curator, I have participated in two group shows.
April: «Nodd» the oak nodding Daschund showing in the «ten years of democracy» exhibition at the Everard Read Gallery, no.6 Jellicoe Ave, Rosebank, JHB, SA, for the month of April.
May: Stained glass and found wood gable front door installed at Livni family home, Emmarentia Johannesburg.
June: Participated on Gordart vinyl disc exhibition which travelled to ART KLOPP.
September: Finalist on the Brett Kebble art award.
October: Exhibited TAC TOC with Toni Ann Ballenden at Gordart. Melvillle, Jhb.
November/ December: Created a stereo scope viewer for William Kentridge. 1989 graduated from Johannesburg school for art, ballet, music & drama with a 1st in painting, and sculpture. Second in drawing and photography.
March: Carfax, «vinyl cube» event.
July: Carfax, «vinyl cube» event.
August: Commenced assistance to William Kentridge on 4 monumental sculptures for the museum of modern art , Western Australia. To be completed by January 2004.
November 22: Carfax «vinyl cube» 3 The Kiss.
Carfax group exhibition. Commenced work on a solo body of work while allowing private viewing at No. 66, 6th street, Linden, Johannesburg, SA.
July: «Blind Spot 2» Dry Barry Gallery, Vrededorp, Johannesburg, SA.
October: Group exhibition, Stewart Gallery, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, SA. Commenced front door project for Mr & Mrs Livni.
Returned to South Africa.
July: Finger print participant in «Blind spot», Dry Barry Gallery, Vrede dorp, Johannesburg, SA.
November: Group exhibition, Stewart Gallery, Parkhurst, Johannesburg, SA.
July: Solo exhibition, Kings road, South Kensington, London.
August: Group exhibition, Dorian Gallery, Berkshire, North London.
Became totally absorbed in heritage restoration specializing in the features of land mark structures eg: Wellington arch, Hide park corner, London. The royal institute of architects building , Westminster, London. The house of parliament members tunnel, Westminster, London. St.Lukes church, Liverpool street, London. Mill Hill private school, north London. Dreadnought mariner's hospital, the Queens house, Greenwich, Southeast London. Tate gallery, Victoria embankment, London. Nunhead cemetery, The chapel and notable mausoleums, Southeast London.
June: Solo exhibition of London wood carvings. Beacon Gallery se13, London, UK.
Co-founder of Beacon studios, se13, London, UK. A live/work environment which eventually aided in the amending of council bylaws across England. I.E: Commercial and residential combined licensing.
Commenced apprenticeship with Paul Carter. Architectural stone restorer through David Ball. Restoration to English heritage. First project: The Sultan of Brunei's London residence no. 27 Kensington palace gardens «Kensington» London, UK.
Depford art festival. Solo exhibition for HSBC bank, Depford, London, UK.
July: Carved and erected head stone for Julian Husband. Died 24/06/1996.
Colaborated with tree surgeon, Julian Husband utilizing fallen and found wood in city parks. The London collection.
Travelled to Canada. Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary then returned to Cascais, Portugal. Commenced rigorous self training in the skill of woodcarving and the Portuguese language.
End of 1994: Emigrated to London, UK.
Returned to Cape Town and opened the Loop street studios. Main focus on sculpture from recyclables.
Moved to Cape Town then on to Paris, France. Lisbon, Portugal.
Accepted a position as apprentice / assistant to Guy Du Toit; sculptor, bronze founder.
Commenced foundation course at Technicon Witwatersrand.