THOMAS DE VANY FORRESTALL, R.C.A.
PREPARATIONS FOR THE PIG, 1969
egg tempera on Masonite
signed; also signed, titled and dated "Dec. 1969"
23.5 ins x 31.75 ins; 58.8 cms x 79.5 cms
Throughout his career, Forrestall experimented with painting supports in a variety of shapes, from the triangular to the t-shaped, chosen to suit his intentions for specific pieces. He explains that “the rectangle is a boring shape artists have had foisted on them by the framing industry for years. The form and content don't connect. I was in New York looking at a Jackson Pollock and the damn shape kills it. The swirling paint hits the four walls like a padded cell. Creative shapes have a power to them.”
In Preparations for the Pig, the bellows-shape of the panel is an artistic nod to the activity depicted. While the painting already sidles up to several of our senses—the smell of the dense smoke, the warmth of the fire—the shape of the bellows suggests a certain physicality, reminding us of the movements involved in pumping and blowing a fire to life.
Forrestall often paints in egg tempera, a method which requires the artist to mix pigments with a binder, provided by the yolk of an egg. Pre-dating oil paint, egg tempera examples from the first century still exist. The paint must be carefully monitored to ensure the right consistency, with the artist balancing water and yolk in the mixture both during the painting and the drying process. Egg tempera is not flexible, and requires a stiff surface to prevent cracking. The paint itself cannot be stored long term, adding to the primacy of the process, well suited to an artist who, like Forrestall, enjoys creating work en plein air.
Roberts Gallery Limited, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Tom Forrestall Exhibition, 1971-72: The Art Gallery of Hamilton, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton; Centre Culturel Canadien, Paris, France