When Daniel Foster stepped down as director of the Oceanside Museum of Art in 2014 then, two weeks later, withdrew his resignation, people wondered what was going on. At the time, he said he was conflicted about juggling his responsibilities as a father to a young son and running a major regional art center.
That’s part of the story, but the full story didn’t emerge until later, when Foster resigned — again — last May. In a letter to his supporters, he laid out his reasons for leaving the job and included a sentence that revealed a side most people never knew about: “After 32 years of total isolation as a non-exhibiting and unpublished artist and poet, I intend to emerge professionally before my 60th birthday [on] Dec. 8, 2016,” he wrote.
Foster is making good on that promise. This week, a solo show featuring an installation of dozens of his works from the last 30 years will open at Susan Street Fine Art Gallery in Solana Beach. The exhibition, which includes Foster’s paintings, photography, collage, poetry and images of some of his past temporary, site‐specific public art projects, opens from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday.
It’s the first time Foster’s ever shown his work. He said his public life as an arts administrator began overshadowing his private life as an artist years ago. He said it took him a long time to realize that he needed to make a change.
“My professional career wasn’t feeding my soul in the way that art was,” he said. “So this show is my big coming out. This inner world that I have not shown to even some of my family, my friends and my closest relations – they really weren’t privy to this activity – I’m ready to show it now.”
Foster’s artwork has been hidden away for three decades, piling up in four one-car garages in Golden Hill and North Park. Going through his past work to pull out the pieces he wanted to include in his show took some effort.