Fred Tomaselli

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Fred Tomaselli
Fred Tomaselli (Brooklyn 2006).jpg
Fred Tomaselli in his Brooklyn studio, 2006, photo by Sally Larsen
Born1956 (1956)
EducationCalifornia State University, Fullerton
Known forPainting

Fred Tomaselli (born in Santa Monica, California, in 1956) is an American artist. He is best known for his highly detailed paintings on wood panels, combining an array of unorthodox materials suspended in a thick layer of clear, epoxy resin. Tomaselli is represented by James Cohan Gallery in the United States and by White Cube gallery in the United Kingdom.

The Art of Tomaselli[edit]

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.[1]

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 Masaccio’s 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”.[2]

Album covers[edit]

Tomaselli's artwork has been on the front cover of several albums. He designed the front cover artwork for Laura Cantrell's third album 'Humming by the Flowered Vine' on Matador Records. His painting, 'Gravity In Four Directions', was also used as partial cover artwork for The Magnetic Fields' album "i". He also has artwork featured in The Wilco Book, a book made by Wilco, the band. His artwork is portrayed on Phish's eleventh studio album, "Joy", which was released September 8, 2009. His art also appears on the cd by Elysian Fields "Dreams That Breathe Your Name" released in July 2004.

Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska (2019)
  • Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, California (2015)[3]
  • University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, MI (2014)
  • James Cohan Gallery, New York (2014)
  • Brooklyn Museum, New York (2010)
  • White Cube, London (2009)
  • The Rose Art Museum, Massachusetts (2005)
  • IMMA, Dublin (2005)
  • Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2004)
  • Albright-Knox Gallery of Art, Buffalo, New York (2003)
  • James Cohan Gallery, New York (2003)
  • White Cube, London (2001)
  • Site Santa Fe, New Mexico (2001)
  • Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art, Florida (2001)
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, (1999)

Selected group exhibitions[edit]

  • Aspen Art Museum (2009)
  • Prospect 1, CAC New Orleans (2008)
  • ‘Ecstasy’, LA MoCA (2006)
  • Whitney Biennial (2004)
  • 5th Site Santa Fe Biennial (2004)
  • Liverpool Biennial (2002)
  • Berlin Biennale (2001)
  • ‘Open Ends’, MoMA, New York (2000)


  1. ^ a b Robert Ayers (October 20, 2006), Fred Tomaselli, ARTINFO, retrieved 2008-04-21
  2. ^ Fred Tomaselli at White Cube gallery, London
  3. ^ Goldner, Liz (March 2015). "Fred Tomaselli". Orange Coast: 34.
  • "Fred Tomaselli" by Ian Berry & Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, 2009, Aspen Art Museum · DelMonico Books · Prestel, New York; ISBN 978-3-7913-4392-1

External links[edit]