T

he beginning of the pandemic starts at the entry of the galley and continues clockwise throughout the exhibition. Fred Tomaselli’s gouache, works on paper outline the major advents of 2020 through 

artistic take on the New York Times cover. He initially was never going to include the works on paper, rather just present his detailed, eye catching picture collaged paintings.

Quarantine prevented him to create the paintings in his East Village studio, but allowed him to stay home to make work from his bedroom. For this show he finished the last painting on the last day the art was shipping out. His works are an accumulation of layered resin pours to create depth within the developed paintings. A language is communicated through the object he includes. The day to day making of the images are created on impulses that are not understandable. Tomaselli’s works reference the renaissance, find influence from Tibetan tangkas, and Persian miniatures to accumulate a combination of east and west. 

Tomaselli claims his “bad 60’s psychedelia" comes from his “love for the shape of nature and being alive" in which he creates his "secular cosmic results.”

FRED TOMASELLI 27 OCTOBER - 21 NOVEMBER 2020, James Cohan Gallery

Tomaselli describes language as a virus which attaches to people’s brains. His motif of circle represents the shedding of the virus onto other people to corrupt all minds. In an era of viral and fake news shaping our consciousness, language is colonizing our perceptions. This exhibition was started in 2018. It was new, but imperative for him to include the buzzing news within his work to construct the cosmic verse the terrible contemporary culture.

The use of pot, rose, and olive leaves with collage elements, and paint construct the trickery to the throw the viewer off balance.  These works are an erotic dance created without a plan and with a lot of over painting. The process orientation of his past fell through, and now Tomaselli advises, 

“Keep it fresh, keep it moving, keep evolving, keep the investigated part of your work alive.”

MARCH 20, 2020, 2020 gouache, collage and archival inkjet print on watercolor paper 11 x 12 in 27.9 x 30.5 cm
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