Whenever someone tells me my work is obsessive I think of Fred Tomaselli. Now that's obsessive. In a really, really good way.
Last December I finally got to cross off an important pilgrimage when I took in his solo show of paintings at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, after years of drooling over his trippy images in books and online.
Some might dismiss Tomaselli as a paper and scissors man, but those would be the painting snobs. His painstaking compositions of found imagery, delicate paint patterning and a helluva lot of resin is why Tomaselli is my tour guide into the transcendental.
All those radiating lines of hundreds of beady, horrifying eyeballs cut from fashion magazines, all those dotted circles of mind-numbing pills, all those tiny wisps of paint that almost lure the viewer to climb right into the liquidy resin surface in a process he perfected after designing surfboard surfaces as a young dude in southern California.
This is painting through the looking glass, a terrible beauty composed of physical bits of media culture and nature, locked into toxic layers of varnishes.
His smash-up of the banal and the mystical depends on an almost unimaginable time-consuming process, yet the final result is immediate, explosive.
There must be a less judgmental word out there for 'obsessive.' 'Focused' doesn't quite cut it.
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