Monday, January 25, 2010
This book was published in 2009, and it went unmentioned in our blog unfortunately. So, here it is now.
Tomaselli is known as one of the big names in the 1980's Downtown LA Art Scene. He had ties to Slash magazine and generally observed a punk-ish existence around the LA Art District.
Much of what you'll find in the Fred Tomaselli book belies his connection to 80s punk rock. The art found within is far more psychedelic and day-glo. Detailed patterns swirl like neon stars around whatever canvas or installation piece he's using. Some personal favorites: Comet, in which Tomaselli fashions a falling star made of Dexedrine pebbles and sugar; Cubic Sky, made of plexiglas boxes, paint and fluorescent light to simulate a night sky inside a cube; and, Breathing Head, which combines photo collage and paint to create patterned lines that flow fountain-like into a head made of many noses, eyes, lips and muscles. Much of his work includes embeded leaves and stems arranged into patterns or figures like heads, human bodies or other extremities. Tomaselli has a penchant for marijuana leaves, in fact, and this seems to be tied to being outdoors. Some of the nature-themed work even has a Henri Rousseau quality to it. In the book, he is quoted as saying:
"My love of nature has been a big part of my life since I first discovered that it wasn't a cultural fabrication. This is going to sound strange, but I didn't find this out until I was a teenager while hiking with some friends. We eventually came across a waterfall and I promptly began searching for the conduit that made it run. It blew my mind that it ran without power or plumbing! I found out nature was real and not just a construct. As a result, I slowly morphed into an amateur naturalist and casual birder and began collecting a library of various field guides. I guess it was only a matter of time before they found their way into the work."
The book was edited by Ian Berry and Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, with essays by the latter, as well as Linda Norden and David Shields. The book also contains a dialogue between Fred Tomaselli and Ian Berry.