Fred Tomaselli

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Transcript of Fred Tomaselli

  • 1. Fred Tomaselli

2. Beauty is in the Eye of the beholder 3. Fred Tomasellis Life

  • Tomaselli grew up in Orange California. He attended and graduated from Orange High School where what he has described as artificial, immersive, theme park reality was a normal part of everyday life and the idea of a contaminated image one that is Post-modern in its borrowing from both high and low culture permeates his work.

4. Behind the Painting

  • Tomaselli's paintings include medicinal herbs, prescription pills and hallucinogenic plants alongside images cut from books and magazines: flowers, birds, butterflies, arms, legs and noses, which are combined into dazzling patterns that spread over the surface of the painting like a beautiful virus or growth. He uses an explosion of color and combines it with a basis in art history. His style usually involves collage, painting, and/or glazing. He seals the collages in resin after gluing them down and going over them with different varnishes.

5. His thoughts on his paintings:

  • I want people to get lost in the work. I want to seduce people into it and I want people to escape inside the world of the work. In that way the work is pre-Modernist. I throw all of my obsessions and loves into the work, and I try not to be too embarrassed about any of it. I love nature, I love gardening, I love watching birds, and all of that gets into the work. I just try to be true to who I am and make the work I want to see. I dont have a radical agenda

6. More Materials used:

  • Fred Tomaselli makes exquisitely rendered paintings on wood panels, combining an array of unorthodox materials suspended in a thick layer of clear, epoxy resin. Medicinal herbs, prescription pills and hallucinogenic plants are combined with images cut from books and magazines: flowers, birds, butterflies, arms, legs and noses, for example, are worked into dazzling patterns that spread over the surface of the painting like a beautiful virus or growth.


  • Tomaselli sees his paintings and their compendium of data as windows into a surreal, hallucinatory universe. It is my ultimate aim, he says, to seduce and transport the viewer in to space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction. Tomaselli has also incorporated allegorical figures into his work in Untitled (Expulsion) (2000), for example, he borrows the Adam and Eve figures from Masaccios Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (1426-27), and in Field Guides (2003) he creates his own version of the grim reaper. His figures are described anatomically so that their organs and veins are exposed in the manner of a scientific drawing. He writes that his inquiry into utopia/dystopia framed by artifice but motivated by the desire for the real has turned out to be the primary subject of my work.

8. 9. 10. Critics: Robert L Pincus

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  • Fred Tomaselli, formerly of Los Angeles and now based in Brooklyn, takes the notion of psychedelic imagery to a dazzling level. He was part of the punk scene in the 1970s, and his paintings have hallucinatory patterns that spill over from exacting human figures to equally exacting surroundings. His materials sometimes include drugs legal and illegal as well as paint.

11. Critics: William Harris

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  • The earliest drug works were whimsical drawings, goofing on astrology. Mr. Tomaselli asked sitters to name their birthday and list all the drugs they remember taking -- everything from aspirin, alcohol and amyl nitrate to caffeine, chocolate or cannabis. The birth date would correspond to an astrological sign, which in turn corresponded to an astrological chart. Mr. Tomaselli recreated those charts and renamed the stars on them for the drugs consumed. ''They were portraits of inner space and outer space,'' he said.The paintings are much more elaborate and the process is painstaking. With ''Gravity's Rainbow (Large),'' for instance, he began by using an 18-foot-long beaded pull cord, creating catenaries, or chains, on the wood surface that pleased his eye, then traced them with a white pencil. Pills and cutouts were arranged and rearranged, then glued to the surface.Next came the resin, squeegeed on and blow-dried, before new catenaries were etched into the surface, creating another layer to be filled in. The piece took five months to complete. In a sly wink to one of Philip Morris's most controversial products, Mr. Tomaselli experimented with using cigarette butts in the garlands. Dissatisfied with the result, he ended up using cigarette butts as stamps to create little circles of color.I 'M trying to keep the viewer as off-balance as possible to the reality of what they're seeing,'' said Mr. Tomaselli. ''I freely mix the painted, the photographic and the real as seamlessly as possible in the same picture plane. I like the contrast of the hard geometric manufactured pills against the soft shape of nature.''

12. Critics: Dan Cameron

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13. Critics: Martha

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  • The critic wa on the bird painting
  • Fred Tomasellis work is also seductive, but creepy - as one curator of Londons White Cube puts it, like a beautiful virus or growth. Tomasellis surfaces are scintillatingly beautiful - described by critics as hallucinatory - but too disturbing to be merely decorative. Its purely decorative ancestor might be the William Morris original 1883 design for chintz, Strawberry Thief, still popular today. But something is awry in Tomasellis fairy-tale universe. In the past hes incorporated hundreds of pills, uppers and downers, into his slick panels. His tapestry depicts two exotic birds, huge and threatening, as Poe might have imagined them. I saw people hovering and unable to walk away - hypnotized by the starburst detail and mesmeric eyes of the birds. Not since Gustave Moreau - Baudelaires favourite - has such a sensual artist tapped the unconscious.