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Over the past two decades, Fred Tomaselli has developed a highly original style in his collage-paintings. This work was created through a careful and laborious assemblage of cut paper and real plant leaves that are suspended in clear resin and painted with acrylic. His hybrid method is influenced by an array of art historical sources, including Persian miniatures, Buddhist mandalas, Rococo floral patterns, and 1960s psychedelic art.
Tomaselli grew up in Southern California and moved to Brooklyn, New York, in the mid-1980s. Within this urban setting, he decided to cultivate a garden, and drew inspiration from the flora and fauna he found there. At times, he inserted materials such as plant leaves from his garden into his collage-paintings. He was also attracted to the birds that flocked to the garden, and used the colorful images of birds from field guide books as another source for his artworks. Birds are among the most important symbols in his work, not only for their colorful nature but because they are metaphors for the flight of the unconscious mind.
Taking these elements drawn from nature, he places them in complex configurations that suggest decorative patterning, cosmic maps or even psychedelic hallucinations. Tomaselli’s work offers an intriguing meditation on the nexus of nature and artifice.