Fred Tomaselli: Paper

Art Free
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Donald Trump peers out of the uterus of ten-titted Mitt Romney, Theresa May erupts into a tree of flames and eyes, coloured shapes spill out of Benjamin Netanyahu’s mouth into a room of disembodied pixelated heads; all on the cover of the New York Times. American painter Fred Tomaselli must be hitting some pretty heavy reefer, because his interventions into blown-up versions of the NYT are hallucinatory, psychedelic visions of news and media.

The result is a semi-abstract attack on the very nature of facts in a post-truth world. By painting over elements on the front page of a major newspaper, Tomaselli is trying to show the subjectivity of what’s reported. He’s saying that these stories are written and edited by individuals with biases, and published by companies with agendas. His imagery – the swirling shapes, blocks of colour and nightmarish monsters – are just as real as what’s printed, because it’s all subjective. 

It helps that he’s a great painter, with a steady, humorous touch and an acid-laced imagination, but the concept is what makes it: it’s satirical, nonsensical and totally relevant.

Upstairs, Tomaselli creates portraits of people through the drugs they’ve taken. Opposite, leaves are painted over with coloured shapes, spurting out in mandala-like patterns. It’s brilliance is in its lameness; it’s a hippy dad’s whacked-out doodles, and by the end, you’re going to want a good hit of whatever he’s been smoking



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