Julian Forrest belongs to a younger generation of painters based in Edmonton who, in contrast to the city’s long relationship with late modernist abstraction, are fully representational with a strong social engagement in contemporary society. His narrative subject matter has revolved around male identity and masculinity particularly as it has been represented in pop culture: film and television, comic books and video games, war and sports imagery. Forrest’s paintings recycle appropriated imagery from these sources and more recently have placed them in more complex compositions with settings as diverse as modern suburbia, the old west and the wilderness.
Forrest received his BFA from Mount Allison University (Sackville, NB, 1995) and an MFA from the University of Alberta (2005). He is the recipient of numerous scholarships, awards and grants from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation (1995, 2000 & 2002); Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2004); Alberta Foundation for the Arts (2004, 2006, 2007 & 2010) and University of Alberta for research and travel assistance.
He has had several solo exhibitions in Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Saint John, Sackville, Calgary, London, ON and San Antonio, Texas. Group shows are also numerous and include three paintings for the 2007 Alberta Biennial of Contemporary Art (2007).
-Curator Mary-Beth Laviolette, for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (2016)