Tom Forrestall’s Recent Works at Mira Godard Gallery

Maritime artist Tom Forrestall expresses distinct moments of stillness and movement in quiet, discreet places; in nature, in home and in human consciousness. This collection of his recent artwork presents a series of landscapes and interiors, representing the intermingling of nature and human perception. The interiors of the forest are depicted where gaps between trees reveal the water behind or frame the sky above, creating spatial depth. The glimpse becomes further activated with fleeting activity; above intertwining trees a plane closely passes followed by its contrail, a swimmer floats in the water or a kayak passes by.

Tom Forrestall, The Lake, June, July 2014, egg tempera on board,32 1/2″ x 45 1/2″ (left) and November Landing, Nov 2011, egg tempera on board, 20 1/2″ x 20 1/2″ (right). Image courtesy of Mira Godard Gallery

Placid home interiors of multiple spaces are abruptly pierced with the shattering of a glass window. The proximity of a man and a distant landscape creates instant parallels between a person and a place, alluding to the state of mind where human and nature merge.

Tom Forrestall, Painter At Tide Head, egg tempera, 18″ x 48″. Photo: Nika Teper

Forrestall’s egg temperas combine the method of realism and pointillism to create layered, distorted scenarios in sublime spaces. Delicate articulations of shadows and light illuminate details and provide realistic texture and depth. Intricate brush strokes and wisps of colour create a pointillist response to atmospheric conditions. “Two Trees,” a round painting, reinforces centripetal movement with circular identical strokes and a uniform colour palette.

Tom Forrestall, Two Trees, 2016, acrylic on board, 36″ in diameter. Image courtesy of Mira Godard Gallery

In “The Dramatic Entrance,” there is a waveform artwork hanging on the back wall of a simple room; a painting in a painting. Most of Forrestall’s works are non uniform shaped paintings. The provocative shape prompts a reevaluation of artwork, it’s presentation and reception. The specific relationship between painting and frame becomes prominent. Geometrical and asymmetrical frames create interesting crops that direct the viewer’s attention. Trapezoid, circle, oval and other uniquely cut  frames produce warped visual dynamics. The unconventional spatial distribution enables the depiction of isolated, concentrated moments within a broader context. The unusual shapes spark mystery as the imposing geometries interrupt the serene moments.

Tom Forrestall, The Dramatic Entrance, 1985-Aug 2011, egg tempera on board, 24″ x 32″. Image courtesy of Mira Godard Gallery

 Installation view of Tom Forrestall, Recent works at Mira Godard Gallery. Image courtesy of Mira Godard Gallery

Each individual artwork creates a sense of juxtaposition, between clarity and ambiguity, near and far, interior and exterior, order and irregularity, geometric and organic; a dynamism that alludes to the perception of a place or a state of mind.

Nika Teper

*Exhibition information: June 25 – Sept 10, 2016, Mira Godard Gallery, 22 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto. Gallery hours: Tue – Sat 10 am – 5 pm.


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