Stephen Forbes

Born in 1973 - Ireland


biography under completion

Stephen Forbes was born in Northern Ireland in 1973. He trained at the Royal Academy Schools, London and Liverpool John Moores University. He has exhibited at the Royal Academy Main Galleries, The Royal Academy Sackler Wing, The Royal Hibernian Academy, Dublin, Art London and the Tom Caldwell Gallery. His work is held in public and private collections including the Allied Irish Bank , The Duetche Bank. The Four Seasons Hotel, Queens University, Leverhulme, The Ulster Bank and The Office of Public Works.

“Pleasure is a word seldom used in the current vocabulary of art criticism and commentary. The serious, even solemn, high mindedness with which artists are meant to deal with the world and themselves, seems to preclude anything as frivolous as pleasure, particularly if it is the actual subject of a painting.

Children jumping and swinging, women diving, men swimming – a celebration of playfulness which ignores the obsessive introspection about self, the pretentious addressing of social issues and the knowing speculation about the process of art making – these are the starting points for the works by Stephen Forbes. But it is not only the subjects of these paintings and drawings for which we use the word ‘pleasure’.

The sheer enjoyment of the procedures of painting by the artist as he works is inextricably linked to what is represented. The drawings are full of a quick wit and a lively touch which give them the quality of dancing thoughts, but of thoughts which are based on a keen observation of real figures and a knowledge of the traditions of figure drawing, as well as being a reaction to the jostling marks on the surface of the paper.

The fundamentals of the painter’s business are referred to, but not laboured: the colours are red, yellow and blue, the primary pigments; the actions take place in the air, on the earth, in the water. It would seem that Stephen Forbes has put together a language which might be used for a wider range of subjects than those represented here: one could think of the satires of William Hogarth, the grim depictions of battles by Jacques Callot or the mangas of Hokusai.

We may certainly look forward to many interesting developments in his work and while the paintings encourage us to enjoy them, there is no doubt of the underlying seriousness of the artist’s intentions.”

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2013 Tom Caldwell Gallery – ‘Stephen Forbes, New Paintings’
2012 Tom Caldwell Gallery – ‘Etherial’
2010 Tom Caldwell Gallery
2009 Tom Caldwell Gallery – ‘Heads’ Solo Show
2007 Tom Caldwell Gallery – ‘Bliss’ Solo show
2005 Tom Caldwell Gallery Activity
2003 Elaine Summers Gallery – ‘Leisure’


2012 Royal Hibernian Academy – Annual
2011 Royal Academy London, Summer show
2011 Tom Caldwell Gallery – Winter Exhibition
2011 Royal Hibernian Academy ,Dublin (Annual – as Invited artist)
2010 Royal Ulster Academy Show, Belfast
2009 Stone Gallery, Dublin – Winter Exhibition
2009 Royal Academy ,London – Summer Show
2009 Royal Hibernian ,Dublin – Annual
2008 Royal Ulster Academy Show, Titanic drawing offices, Belfast
2008 Royal Hibernian Acadamy ,Dublin Annual
2008 Oisin Gallery , Dublin – Time and Tide (Two man Show)
2007 Royal Hibernian Academy – Annual
2007 Tom Caldwell Gallery – Summer show
2006 Royal Ulster Academy show, Ulster Museum
2006 Tom Caldwell Gallery – Winter Exhibition
2005 Royal Ulster Academy Show, Ulster Museum
2004 Tom Caldwell Gallery ,Summer Show
2004 Royal Ulster Academy Show, Ulster Museum
2004 Activity Waterfront Hall ,Belfast
2004 Summer exhibition Tom Caldwell Gallery
2003 Tom Caldwell Gallery .Group Show
2003 Fanum House ,Belfast Four Royal Academy schools artists
2002 Royal Academy Summer show
2002 Adelaide St Gallery, Belfast – ‘Flash’ Group show
2001 Ulster Academy Show, Ulster Museum, Belfast
2001 Royal Academy Degree show, London
2000 The Royal Academy, London – ‘Premiums’ Group show
2000 RUA show, Ulster Museum, Belfast
2000 Royal Academy, Summer Show, London
2000 Art London, Rebbeca Hossac Gallery, Chelsea Gallery, London
1996 Degree Show Liverpool, John Moores University


Allied Irish Bank; Deutche Bank; Office of Public Works; Queens University; Four Seasons Hotel; Hillier Parker; Leverhulme; IIB Bank; Department of Finance; Royal Victoria Hospital; South Eastern Education and library Board;Ulster Bank; Northern Ireland Civil Service; Belfast Health and Social Service Trust


1998-2001 Royal Academy Schools, London….Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art
1996-1997 Painting Scholarship…. Research and Lecturing at St Helens College England
1992-1996 Liverpool John Moores University BA (HONS) Fine Art.
1991-1992 Liverpool John Moores University….Foundation course. Distinction


Royal Ulster Academy Exhibition, Mills Sellig Prize,Outstanding work by a young artist.
Royal Ulster Acadamy Exhibition, Killarney Art Gallery PrizeOut Standing Work.
Royal Academy of Art, The Leverhulme Student award with bursary.

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