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painting's edge: fred tomaselli.

Hangover, 2005

Fred Tomaselli and his "psychology of pattern", as phrased by Roland Reiss in introduction, began this 100 image lecture with images of hanging cubes that held the sky. He is a Californian who relocated early on to Brooklyn, NY.

Fred is rooted in the American stoner/rock generation, a youth who were/are interested in "debunking [or chasing down] the sublime" via various forms of escapism- psychedelics, hard rock, drugs etc. Some of his materials include surfboard resin, rose and marijuana leaves, cut-outs of birds, hands and lips and pills: a product of West Coast influences and locations. Out of these influences came an inevitable number of losses, deaths and repeated failures to escape. Fred's work, visually, is gorgeous and fascinating but this "escapist" backdrop is where, conceptually, Fred's work becomes so interesting to me, so personal. There is a certain level of anxiety, of a frenzied searching for...Explanation? Meaning? Existence.

The morning following Fred's lecture held a discussion on a beautiful outdoor porch with the artist and the 35 Painting's Edge residents who are here for these two weeks. The conversation began around the terms "spirituality" and "transcendence", two such items which seem to hold a place in Fred's work. But what do they mean? In a culture that has lost trust in the church, in language and in each other what does it mean to have a spirit, a soul and a belief in universal pattern and connectedness?
Organisim, 2005

There is
in the woods on a summers
morning, birdsong all around
from guess where, nowhere
that rigid measure which predicts
only humankind's demise.
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