Roles in Archive: Artist
Ever the idiosyncratic collector, Fred Tomaselli amasses pills, herbs, and other drugs, along with a range of images—plants, flowers, birds, anatomical illustrations—to create multilayered baroque paintings that encompass elements of the real, the photographic, and the painterly. Drawing upon art historical sources and Eastern and Western decorative traditions, Tomaselli’s works explode in mesmerizing, psychedelic patterns that appear to grow organically across his compositions. Born in Santa Monica, California in 1956, and raised in Southern California, Tomaselli’s influences can be traced to both the manufactured unreality of theme parks and the music and drug counter-cultures of Los Angeles during the 1970s and ’80s.
A major midcareer survey of Tomaselli’s work premiered last summer at the Aspen Art Museum and will travel to the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York (February 6-June 6, 2010) and the Brooklyn Museum of Art (October 8, 2010-January 2, 2011). In conjunction with this touring exhibition, a major monograph of his work has been published by Prestel Publishing, available as of September 2009.
Tomaselli’s work has also been included in numerous international solo and group exhibitions, including the 2001 Berlin Biennale, the 2002 Liverpool Biennial, the 2004 SITE Santa Fe Biennial, the 2004 Whitney Biennial, and 2008 Prospect 1 New Orleans Biennial. Tomaselli’s work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. He was a Resident Artist at Skowhegan in 2000. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn.