Tom Forrestall: A Car for all Seasons
When you have painted for over fifty years and received the kind of recognition that has been accorded to Tom Forrestall, you might justifiably pull out some laurels and rest on them. You might be forgiven for slipping into autopilot and producing more of the work for which you are recognized.
But a coffee conversation with Mary O’Regan in late 2013 proved that Forrestall still reacts with curiosity and vigour to visual potential. The conversation had drifted to the future of Forrestall’s 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD which was languishing shiny but dormant in its garage.
Initial attempts to sell the vehicle served only to remind him how much the car had meant to the Forrestall family for 34 years. O’Regan’s suggestion that he should invite Mercedes-Benz Canada to purchase the vehicle was met with some doubt, but the doubt subsided considerably when she suggested the possibility of painting what had gradually been accruing heirloom quality.
Drawings for a German car that had so admirably weathered the Canadian climate, revolved around the seasons - a familar enough subject in Forrestall’s painting. The concept of a “Car for all Seasons” gradually emerged, and in early 2014, Mercedes-Benz made the arrangements for work to begin. BASF worked quickly to provide paint for the project and O'Regan’s Mercedes-Benz in Halifax provided a showroom venue as a studio. For six months, the public were invited to watch progress and in the late summer of 2014, the car was officially unveiled.
Forrestall invites viewers to reconsider the status of the automobile and our relationship with them. This car continues to fulfill the primary function for which it was made, but it is now carries an art identity – it is both car and painting; and a Forrestall painting at that.
Curator: Nick Webb
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of the City of Fredericton, the Province of New Brunswick, and Mercedes-Benz Canada.
Want to see more? Check out the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at this work's creation: