The Joslyn Art Museum currently displays a small collection of works from artist Fred Tomaselli.  His work is featured in the The Karen and Doug Riley Contemporary Artists Project Gallery and will be viewable until May 5.

Tomaselli’s work is layered on top of different issues of The New York Times.  While his work is composed of abstract designs, the topics behind his work are real world problems.

Much of Tomaselli’s work utilizes The New York Times’ printed work with his own art media to bring a surreal aspect to his work.  He avidly collects the front pages of varying topics to add to his collection of art.  

Tomaselli designs his compositions around pre-existing photographs that have immediate relevance to the modern world.  

The Joslyn’s website says, “Rich with the complex patterns for which Tomaselli became known early in his career, the compositions from the ongoing newspaper series ponder the absurdity of news cycles and provide the artist an opportunity to respond to a variety of issues, from regional anecdotes to global crises.”

Tomaselli utilizes varying designs and mediums in his works.  In his artwork the viewer can see layers, ranging from paintings to pasted leaves.  Each diverse attribute adds to the wildly hypnotic pieces displayed.

Creating artwork on top of already politically charged photographs adds a new element of viewing to our world’s current seemingly dire circumstances.  

In a past interview with Tomaselli he said, “I think that maybe the Times’s collages are quietly political, in that I can riff on anything I want, while the horrors of the world become the background buzz. Maybe I’m saying that the world may be going to hell, but I still keep painting.”   

As the print media struggles to remain afloat during the age of online media, it is compelling to see the use of newspapers in artwork such as this.  Most of Tomaselli’s works have an added and at times charged story behind them, which comes as no surprise seeing that his canvas of choice, for this collection, is a newspaper.  

This collection is covered under The Joslyn’s free admission.  The Joslyn Art Museum will be hosting an event, “An Evening with Fred Tomaselli” on April 25 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. 

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