January 18, 2010 Kleinburg, ON—The McMichael Canadian Art Collection presents Tom Forrestall: Paintings, Drawings, Writings, a retrospective exhibition of the famed Canadian egg tempera painter Tom Forrestall. Opening at the McMichael on January 30, 2010, and curated by the McMichael’s Executive Director and CEO, Tom Smart, the exhibition traces Forrestall’s artistic career over fifty years. Comprised of sixty works in oil, watercolour, egg tempera, drawings, and his writings, this exhibition explores the basis of Forrestall’s creative expression through three primary disciplines— drawing, painting, and writing.

Known for his characteristic “magic realism” style paintings, which have often been classified along with the work of other magic realist East Coast painters—Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt, and Mary Pratt—Forrestall’s images of Atlantic Canadian rural landscapes are infused with a mystical, transcendent and fascinating quality. They engage the viewer’s senses on multiple levels, the visual, the physical, and the auditory. His images capture a moment in time, a freeze frame of reality, leaving the narrative open for interpretation.

“His images combine reality, poetry, and a metaphysical dimension that transcends a spiritual and emotional energy to the viewer. The tensions in his art give it its dynamism and power, between life and art; experience and imitation; between reality and the imagination. These divergent forces, activate and enliven the communication between the artist and the viewer through the imperfect medium of the work of art,” explains Tom Smart, the exhibition’s curator and author of the accompanying exhibition publication, Tom Forrestall: Paintings, Drawings, Writings.

This exhibition explores the development of Forrestall’s characteristic “magic realism” style and the genesis of his shaped paintings; the choice of subject matter and its relationship to defining a poetry of place; the artist’s spirituality as expressed directly and symbolically in the imagery; the relationship of sketchbooks and personal written reflections to the paintings; and the place of his art in relation to analogous contemporary movements in Canada, the US, and Europe.

About Tom Forrestall

Tom Forrestall was born in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia on March 11, 1936. He grew up in Middleton and Dartmouth and began to attend art classes at the Nova Scotia College in Halifax at an early age.

In 1954, Forrestall was awarded an entrance scholarship to the Fine Arts Faculty at Mount Allison University from which he graduated in 1958. In the same year he received a Canada Council Grant for independent study (one of the first granted) and travelled throughout Europe. In 1959 he became the assistant curator of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and in 1960 received his first major commission—a painting to be presented to Princess Margaret as a wedding gift from the Province of New Brunswick. Shortly thereafter, Forrestall, having supported himself in various related jobs, began to devote himself to full-time painting.

Tom Forrestall is one of the leading figures associated with the visual arts in the Maritime region. His work has been exhibited and is represented in every major public collection in the region and beyond, including numerous solo exhibitions in prominent galleries worldwide.


For further information contact:

Michelle Kortinen, Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210

[email protected]