Sunday, June 22
Fred Tomaselli was a guest lecturer tonight at Idyllwild Arts as part of the Paintings Edge workshop. I have been keeping my eye out for lectures to begin for the Hot Clay Ceramics Workshop, but when I looked at the calender tonight at saw Fred Tomaselli's name I had a minor freak out; he's a pretty big name in the art world right now, and rightfully so.
The first time I saw Fred Tomaselli's work was at the MOCA exhibit Ecstasy: In and About Altered States. Tomaselli works mostly in large scale, multimedia collage; newspaper clippings, pressed leaves, pills, and paint coated in resin. The multiple layers of items, seen through the resin, appear to float above the wood surface. The first reaction of most, non-museum trained, visitors was to reach out to touch the work in order to investigate the illusion. I remember a guard, placed directly by Tomaselli's paintings in order to prevent this. I had always thought that the reason his work was in the exhibit was because of this drug like visual effect and the cannabis leaves, and pills embedded inside the resin. However, now I know that part of the reason he was included in the show is that is works often explore the way people choose to escape reality; he uses the pills and leaves to visually alter perspective rather than alter perspective through ingestion of those substances.
Here is one of the works that was featured in Ecstasy, "Hanging Tree"; this piece is about 6'X 8'.
This piece "Avian Flower Serpent" was done for Tomoselli's son to commemorate the hawk they saw swoop down and grab a snake to eat.
"Migrant Fruit Thugs"
I most appreciated how thoroughly Tomaselli knows his art history, this work "Guilty" is a good example of that. It is a work inspired by "Expulsion from the Garden of Eden," a title that has been assigned to many works by many artists including Masaccio,Thomoas Cole, Michaelangelo, Durer, and William Blake. To see an article in the New York times translated into such a classic theme impressed me.
Mostly I enjoyed listening to an artist that has truly made it, but still has life in perspective. He told us that, as an artist, he always expected to have a day job in addition to doing what he loves. Now his day job IS his art, but before that he was also a mechanic and a wood craftsman. When a member of the audience asked, "What's it like to be a famous artist?" Tomaselli responded, "What does that even mean? That no one knows who I am except you guys?"
Posted by Kelly Visel