new-york

Fred Tomaselli

James Cohan Gallery / Christine Burgin

An encyclopedia of fantastical beings, the bestiary has an allegorical or moralizing purpose, classifying physical deviance and offering metaphysical counsel as well as presenting an orderly compendium of psychedelic effects. In other words, the bestiary is what Fred Tomaselli composes under the aegis of painting. Tomaselli isn’t exactly a painter, though he does paint, with a delicate, illustrator's hand. His work’s wildness derives from its collaged elements: flowers, birds, hands, and eyes, all made of paper; glued-on pills, insects, and leaves of cannabis. Encased in layers of resin, pulsing with colorful detail, Tomaselli’s images recount tales in which the moral injunction is to balance indulgence with distance—to get off, but to retain a measure of skepticism.

The artist’s recent show at James Cohan, an extravagant affair of sixteen collages and drawings, ran concurrently with a

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