To his friends and contemporaries, the late sculptor and longtime Western Kentucky University professor Charles H. Forrester was known for his abstract works, his world travels and even his instrumental role in designing WKU’s Fine Arts Center.
To his daughter, Winifred Forrester, he was “always larger than life” in a way that was intimidating. Forrester remembers being dazzled by her father’s talent and zeal for his art.
“He lived and breathed sculpture and his art,” Forrester said. “He just pursued it until he died, and I’ve always admired that.”
Before his death in 2010, Forrester completed more than 550 sculptures.
Through his work, Forrester could twist everyday objects and human physicality into abstract, often fantastical forms. One such series, Shoes Fantasies, melds portraiture or architecture with the sensuality of a stiletto or the sturdiness of a work boot.
Forrester was also known for his massive concrete sculptures, one of which – called “The Family” – stands just outside Med Center Health’s corporate office on Reservoir Hill.
The breadth and legacy of Forrester’s career as a sculptor, which spans six decades, is the subject of a forthcoming book, “A Mind in Motion: The Art of Charles H. Forrester,” by Winifred Forrester. The book is due out Tuesday and is available now for pre-order at major book retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
“My main goal was to bring his art and life to a wider audience,” Forrester said of the project.
For Winifred Forrester, the book is the culmination of years of work. After her father’s death, she retired and made curating her father’s work her encore career.
The book is a companion to the award-winning documentary film “A Line Unbroken: The Charles Forrester Story,” which will premiere on the WKU-PBS channel Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. The documentary has also been selected for Louisville’s International Festival of Films scheduled Nov. 5-7.
Among the book’s contributors is WKU art professor and art historian Guy Jordan, who submitted an essay for the project.
When he explains Forrester’s artistic vision, Jordan draws on the popular Isaiah Berlin essay “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” in which Berlin compares, in jest, writers and thinkers to hedgehogs and foxes. Hedgehogs perceive the world through one big idea, while foxes are more eclectic and less reductive.
“Forrester is this fox,” Jordan said. “He’s got his brain in so many different places.”