Halcyon Days features a new series of Forbes' oil paintings - his first major body of work since Hurricane Katrina drove him from New Orleans in late 2005, as he became a permanent evacuee - a victim of the storm and its aftermath. This exhibition marks his triumphant return to New Orleans and is his first gallery exhibition in over seven years.
Justin Forbes paints in a vivid, almost psychedelic palette; his work combines an Alice Neel-like surrealism with the American nostalgia in the vein of Edward Hopper and Thomas Hart Benton. The result is a frenetic, emotion-infused recording of subterranean culture.
Forbes says of this new body of work:
"In my work, I try to evoke a hipstamatic memory drawn from the inner vaults of our childlike subconscious residing behind protected firewalls. It is this shared experience,, this muscle memory in dream or reality that I hope to capture. Through specific attention to genuine details and characters as they interact, I attempt to create a stylized personal mythology that both appeals to the side of us that becomes teary-eyed and giddy with the teen-aged thrill of something new, and leaves us haunted by the childhood psychodrama of something old, fervently capturing compressed moments in life that come as close to the reverie of actual experience as possible within the finite dimensions of a canvas."
Justin Forbes has been enjoying his artistic pursuits for most of his life. Born in Hollywood to a professional photographer and a professional dancer, he was exposed to art at a young age and it was his first love, career, and lifestyle.
Forbes' work is narrative and autobiographical in nature. His life and his art overlap as many events and dreams make their way into his large, saturated settings. Forbes seems to invite the viewer to watch a performance and be a part of the intensity as they are challenged by character elements staring out at the audience. Color, light and shadow are integral elements in his richly layered oils. There is a sense of irony along side the often brutally honest story lines alluded to in Forbes' compositions. There is a sense of familiarity with his characters as the viewer senses that they "know" people in his portraits and vividly painted "snapshots" of the scenes of a world that intersects real life and a hipster fantasy. Forbes strives for a perfect energetic yet loose mastery of detail and mood as he exaggerates perspective as if the world is being viewed through a wide angle lens.
Justin Forbes' work has been exhibited in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. His work has been featured Juxtapoz Magazine, ART Papers, Tribe Magazine, the current issue of Twisted South and is slated to be on the HBO series Treme. Forbes has also done illustrations for Hustler magazine.
Justin Forbes' paintings are in numerous public and private collections including the Michael Brown and Linda Green Collection, Actress Sela Ward, TV commercial producer T.G. Herrington, publishing magnate Larry Flynt, Debora and Paul Lipman and the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.
ROSE MARY SALUM (México). Es fundadora y directora de la revista bilingüe Literal, Latin American Voices y de Literal Publishing. Es autora de los libros de cuentos El agua que mece el silencio (Vaso Roto, 2015), Delta de las arenas, cuentos árabes, cuentos judíos (2013) Entre los espacios (2002) (Spaces in Between, 2006) y Vitrales (1994). En 2009 reunió la compilación Almalafa y Caligrafía, Literatura de origen árabe en América Latina para la revista Hostos Review. Ha sido incluída en diversas antologías en Estados Unidos, España, México y Australia. Entre sus distinciones y reconocimientos por su labor literaria y editorial están “Author of the Year 2008” por el Hispanic Book Festival, Ana María Matute (Torremozas), el Hispanic Excellence Award, 4 Lone Star Awards, 2 CELJ Awards, el Classical Award otorgado por la Universidad de St. Thomas, un reconocimiento por el Congreso de Estados Unidos y dos nominaciones: el Nora Magid Award otorgado por el Pen America (2013) y el Maggie Award(2005). Enseña escritura creativa en la universidad de Rice.