Friday, October 22, 2010

Fred Tomaselli

Walking in to Fred Tomaselli’s exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, one is immediately inundated into a hyper-reality trip with color, pattern, and supple graphic imagery. Bold saturated color seduces the eyes through the lines and shapes, created by Tomaselli’s brush strokes, and objects he incorporates into his psychedelic universe of imagery. The slick resin finish of the completed paintings enhance the graphic quality of the imagery, making it comic-like and out of this world. One is thrust full force into an off the wall journey with Tomaselli. This happens through an allegorical narrative, where one questions if the artist himself was in a drug-induced state while creating these works, or if the artist is merely playing with societies love affair of hyper-reality.

Big Raven (2008) is a perfect example of this psychedelic, graphic-collage type imagery. Immediately, one notices the bold graphic texture of Raven. Upon closer inspection, one sees that Big Raven is made of hundreds of photos. These photos have been pasted, and formed carefully together into a collage, in order to create hyper-detailed depth and shadow, within the painted outline of the raven itself.

Each piece like Big Raven is carefully illustrated, so that details blend together from far away, creating a readable, illustrious, and sublime imagery. This creates an effect that seduces the eye, and calls for further inspection. Every nuance, ranging from hundreds of eyes, to tablets of prescription pills, is carefully laid out and placed with exact detail, in order to create this transcendent imagery.

Tomaselli’s work reflects on our societies saturated nature, and the craziness abundant within it. His work creates romantic imagery, which references a drug induced rave culture. These paintings reference a slick club drug pharmaceutical culture, prevalent in popular culture during the artist’s lifetime. One feels as if they are taken through each and every drug induced trip the artist experienced during his lifetime. Each and every image is a glimpse into the artist’s expanded consciousness of drug-enhanced narrative.

When one looks at Tomasell’s work, you feel as if you are experiencing the hallucinogenic narrative, just as the artist had imaged you would. You find yourself wanting to reach out, and touch the radii of patterns and shapes emanating from the human and animal forms. This is due to the movement of the eye they cause, with their varying visual patterns. The delicate nature of the layout of the objects, and marks which allude the imagery to the artist’s obsessive nature, capture his vision exactly.


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  2. I really like how you describe the artwork on view and that you chose an individual piece to focus on. Tomaselli pays a lot of attention to detail so it is important for someone who hasn’t seen the work to have an idea of what it looks like up close. You gave the reader a good sense of this. I have a few nitpicky things for you. Twice you used ‘societies’ instead of ‘society’s.’ In the fourth paragraph you used a version of the phrase ‘drug-induced’ three times. You might’ve just wanted to change up the wording a bit. Lastly, the last two sentences are awkward to read