It isn’t every day that a work of art could drive itself to its exhibition site if someone so desired, but artist Tom Forrestall’s ‘A Car For All Seasons’ is capable of that feat. This remarkable work of art on four wheels is on display at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick until April 19, 2015.
The canvas for this rolling work is the artist’s own 1980 Mercedes-Benz 300 SD, a car that has served and carried the artist for three-and-a-half decades, covering some 230,000 kilometres of Canadian roads, and a car to which the artist had grown attached.
Finding himself in 2012 at the proverbial crossroads with respect to the vehicle’s fate, Mary K. W. O’Regan, a friend of the artist’s, suggested turning it into a work of art. Over coffee, the idea of ‘A Car For All Seasons’ grew, early sketches were made, and the seed of a project was sown.
In early 2014, Mercedes-Benz Canada 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 corner of the car showroom as a studio. For the six months while Forrestall meticulously painted the car, the public was invited to watch his progress and in the late summer of 2014, the car was officially unveiled at the dealership.
“When we were initially approached by Tom Forrestall and Mary O’Regan to discuss the possibility of involving Mercedes-Benz Canada in ‘A Car For All Seasons’ project, we immediately understood the intrinsic benefits of this tremendous opportunity. While ‘A Car For All Seasons’ is a brilliant work of art depicting the Canadian four seasons on a most unusual canvas, it also tells the compelling story of a mutually caring relationship, spanning more than three decades, between a Mercedes-Benz owner and his beloved car,” explained Tim A. Reuss, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada.
“Forrestall has certainly crafted something special,” said Dr. Nick Webb, curator of the exhibition. The ordinariness of automobile functions, family memories, the stature of an automotive brand richened further by the patina of time, the reality of the Canadian climate, and the hyper-photographic paint treatment — all these elements combine to tell a series of stories that intertwine; the car becomes a series of metaphors.”
“Tom Forrestall is one of Canada’s pre-eminent visual artists, and the Beaverbrook Art Gallery has enjoyed a close and long-standing relationship with him. In fact, this relationship extends back to the Gallery’s inception in 1959, when Sir Max Aitken hired him as assistant curator. At seventy-nine, Tom remains a vital artist, and continues to make work of exceptional quality. The Gallery is especially honoured to organize ‘A Car For All Seasons’ and to showcase his most recent, and perhaps most unusual creation. We are grateful to Mercedes-Benz Canada for their valued collaboration,” said Beaverbrook Art Gallery director/CEO and chief curator Terry Graff.
Tom Forrestall’s ‘A Car For All Seasons’ is on display at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery until April 19, 2015. For a behind the scenes look at the creation of ‘The Car For All Seasons’ go to http://beaverbrookartgallery.org/en/visit/exhibitions/tom-forrestall-a-car-for-all-seasons/