Biography

As a painter, Forrestall is as deeply interested in how we see as in what we see. He knows that as viewers, each of us brings to works of art both our conscious skills and ideas and our own range of subjective experience, of which we are only partly aware. Sometimes in approaching contemporary works of realism, we are tempted to puzzle out specific narratives or to read finite symbolic meanings into objects. Such calculated exercises in interpretation will always lead us astray. Paintings such as Forrestall's elude interpretation. They are not containers for meaning. Their truth resides in their stillness and in their ability to inspire stillness in us.

 

- Dr. Eva Seidner

In an artistic career now entering its eight decade, Nova Scotian painter TOM FORRESTALL (b.1936) has remained remarkably consistent in his practice. His commitment to image-making is near total, and he has worked at it full-time since 1960. Forrestall has also consistently been grouped with a former teacher and two classmates in the loosely designated regional painting style, 'Atlantic Realism.' But Forrestall, like his teacher Alex Colville and his friends Christopher and Mary Pratt, found his own route to painting that was relevant to him, crafting a personal approach that is less part of any defined group than it is a response to specific biographical and emotional facets of his life. Where Forrestall does share affinities with the other so-called 'Atlantic Realists' is in his commitment to depicting his immediate surroundings, filtered through his imagination and his sensibility.

Works
  • TOM FORRESTALL, Bouldered Brook, Nov. 2020 - Jan. 2021
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Bouldered Brook, Nov. 2020 - Jan. 2021
    egg tempera on board
    24 1/2 x 14 1/2 in.
  • thrower and fetcher, man and dog out on the point by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Thrower and Fetcher, Man and Dog out on the Point, September - October 2019
    egg tempera on board
    19 x 44 in.
  • seaweed by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Seaweed, Autumn 2017 - Winter 2018
    acrylic on board
    42 1/2 in. (diam.)
  • discovery of self by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Discovery of Self, 1995
    egg tempera on board
    28 x 27 in.
  • TOM FORRESTALL, Night Return, 2020
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Night Return, 2020
    watercolour on paper
    3 x 5 3/8 in.
  • out on the point by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Out on the Point, 2019 - 2020
    watercolour on paper
    3 x 4 1/2 in.
  • on the beach by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    On the Beach, 2019
    watercolour on paper
    2 7/8 x 4 3/4 in.
  • the other feller by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    The Other Feller, 2019
    watercolour on paper
    2 7/8 x 7 3/4 in.
  • TOM FORRESTALL, Two Dogs One Boot, 2019
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Two Dogs One Boot, 2019
    watercolour on paper
    2 5/8 x 6 1/2 in.
  • hartlands point by tom forrestall
    TOM FORRESTALL
    Hartlands Point, January 5th, 2019
    watercolour on paper
    15 x 22 3/4 in.
Exhibitions
Publications