Forrest Formsma, Indianapolis artist who has previously been featured at the Harrison Center, is unveiling another show, Presence, during the month of April. Presence will hang in the City Gallery through April 26, and features oil painting snapshots of different scenes in Indianapolis.


Forrest, while based in Indy, has had his work exhibited at a number of galleries both in the U.S. and abroad, and brings his signature visual style to Presence. He received a BFA and MA in the arts from Miami University of Ohio. Forrest first worked as a high school art teacher before turning his attention to studio work, where he found his niche as a full-time painter. Traditionally, he has been known for impressionist oil paintings that often feature scenes of everyday life, images of nature, and city structures, among other subjects. “I work on a lot of things, but professionally I’m an oil painter,” said Formsma “I knew from a very early age that I wanted to be an artist, and then somewhere in middle or high school I just found a love for paint.”


Presence holds true to Forrest’s popular impressionist style while depicting a diverse array of scenes from life in Indianapolis. For those who are familiar with the city, Presence will feature a number of recognizable Indy images, including Monument Circle, the Statehouse, the canal, and even a Meijer parking lot. Indianapolis is a unique city in that it possesses both urban landscapes and spots of quiet nature and greenery throughout town, and Presence manages to highlight this multifaceted nature of the city. Showcasing both iconic shots of classic cityscapes and quieter, more secluded spots in Indy, Presence shows the many layers of Indy and provides something for everyone to engage with and appreciate, allowing for each viewer to glean their own meaning from what they see and to enjoy an individualized experience with the pieces. Forrest recognizes that he is the artist, but invites everyone to partake in the creative process through interacting with the paintings and encouraging viewers to form their own opinions. He believes everyone has a valuable experience that will inform what Presence means to them.


“I want my art to be more about the paint and the choice of composition than a narrative or some idea that I’m trying to get across,” said Formsma. “I really want people just to see the paintings and get lost in them; that’s one of the reasons I break edges and don’t have everything crisp and decided. I want the viewer to come to their own conclusions as much as they can, I try to draw them into the painting that way, and let them decide what it’s about.”


Forrest is affiliated with the Hoosier Salon, American Impressionist Society, and the Indiana Plein Air Association. He has a long history of exhibiting work in Indiana, and Presence adds another meaningful chapter to his catalogue of work. The show will hang in the City Gallery through the month of April, and we hope you will join us as we celebrate his latest work.