I’m making my curatorial debut (yes, I’m a woman of many trades) today at the Geoffrey Diner Gallery here in DC with the show Sidney Foster: A Life In Color. To learn more about him in his own words, see this profile in The People’s District. To read my summary of Sidney’s story and art, well, just keep reading:

"Mobile," Acrylic on paper, 2011

Ninety-five-year-old impresario Sidney Foster will exhibit 10 paintings in his first solo show at Geoffrey Diner Gallery from May 27 through June 25, during which he’ll celebrate his 96th birthday.

Foster, a concert violinist and jazz trumpeter who emigrated to the United States from England in 1938, never thought much about painting until he casually enrolled in a class at his retirement home late last year. “I was really just trying to keep busy,” he said. Sixty-plus paintings later, that seems like an understatement.

This will be Foster’s first gallery showing outside of his Greenspring Retirement campus. His excitement, however, outweighs any nerves. This is no surprise considering Foster’s long and varied musical past, which began in England at the age of seven. A graduate of London’s Royal Academy of Music, Foster became a bugler in the U.S. Army Air Corp Band during World War II. He took his discharge after being stationed in Bermuda and opened the popular Elbow Beach Surf Club, where he played both the violin and trumpet with his orchestra until 1953. Back in the United States, Foster’s talent ended up taking him to Carnegie Hall as an orchestral violinist, as well as the popular supper club at Park Avenue’s Ambassador Hotel.

Foster’s love of music, including both the structure of classical music and the free form of jazz, shows in the 10 works that will be displayed at Geoffrey Diner Gallery. Sharp lines run deliberately into bright geometric shapes. Short strokes of paint haphazardly form whirlwinds of earth tones.

Foster’s paintings are captivating in color, form and creation. They hearken back to eras past, while still capturing something new. Uniting his work is his devotion to abstraction, which allows him to parlay emotion onto the paper. “Abstract to me means something primitive,” he says. He describes every work as an evolution, starting from a tiny seed of an idea and expanding over the initial sketching and final painting process into a finished work. “It is not finished until it is framed,” says Foster, insisting, “You can’t look at an unframed piece of paper and make a true judgment.”

The public is invited to join Foster for an opening reception on May 26 from 5-7 pm.

I hope to see you all there, however, if you can’t come tonight, make sure to mark your calendar for a talk with the artist on June 2 from 5-7 pm or stop by anytime between tomorrow and June 25, Tuesday-Saturday, 1-6 pm. For location information, click here.