Fred Tomaselli is known for his visually packed paintings that are hybrid in materials, subjects, and cultural references. A single piece may be comprised of brightly colored passages of paint, photo-collage, found images from field guides and magazines, and drugs such as aspirin, marijuana leaves, and ecstasy pills. These materials are layered onto wood panels and suspended in slick epoxy resin. Tomaselli’s stylized works range from psychedelic-patterned abstractions to idealized representations of allegorical figures, animals, nature, and the cosmos. The more time spent with the artist’s paintings, the more details emerge, and the works become increasingly complex and dynamic.
Tomaselli’s mesmerizing scenes bend reality through visual stimulation and seduction, illustrating the utopian and transcendental abilities of art. His works also comment on the artifice of suburban America in the 1960s and 1970s and the subcultural quest for escapism—whether it be reached through hallucinatory experiences or trips to amusement parks such as Disneyland—realities that are particularly tied to the artist’s upbringing in California during those years. On his work, Tomaselli states, “It is my ultimate aim to seduce and transport the viewer into the space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction.”
Fred Tomaselli was born in Santa Monica, California, and received his BA from the California State University in Fullerton. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Tomaselli has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum; Aspen Art Museum; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Indianapolis Museum of Art; SITE Santa Fe; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Tomaselli was the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 1998 and New York’s Public Design Commission Annual Award for Excellence in Design in 1992. His work is in the collections of many museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Art Institute of Chicago; and the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh.