Saturday, March 27, 2010

Fred Tomaselli at the Tang

When was the last time you came away from a show of paintings absolutely exhilarated? When was the last time you spent an hour looking an 8 or 10 piece show and found you'd have to return soon because you hadn't really seen them all, - and you needed to see them ?!

Those were my feelings after first viewing California artist Fred Tomaselli's spectacular work at the Skidmore College Tang Museum. Tang exhibits are usually contemporary artists' products, - some provocative, some daring, and some, occasionally, a big yawn. The Tomaselli show, on display through June 6th, is a rich eye opener which fulfills one of my personal objectives in art. They are powerful images when seen across the room, exquisitely detailed at arms length and completely intriguing close up. I found them breathtaking!

Think wonderful 18th century embroidery, fine roman mosaics, gorgeous french tapestries, beautifully crafted decoupage, - then add a healthy dash of Hieronymus Bosch sensibility and you'll have a vague idea of the huge imaginative panels hanging in the Toshiko Takaezu Galleries. Using natural materials like leaves and twigs, simple paper shapes, clothes catalogue cuttings, medical illustrations and, surprisingly, thousands of colorful prescription pills, all layered in clear epoxy resin, Tomaselli gives us memorable organic images, pulled together by his masterly painter's hand.