American artist Fred Tomaselli, whose perception-challenging paintings and collages have earned him coverage in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, will give a free lecture on Thursday, May 12 at 6 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Peristyle as part of the Museum’s Masters Series.
The mosaic-like qualities of the artist’s depictions of nature were the inspiration for the Museum’s third biennial show focused on bird-related art, called Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds, on view through Aug. 7.
The free exhibition coincides with the Biggest Week in American Birding, which occurs every spring near Toledo on the southern shores of Lake Erie and brings tens of thousands of birders to see a fantastic array of migrating songbirds. Tomaselli, an avid birder himself, will discuss his passion for the hobby and its influence on his work.
“You can really draw a parallel between looking at his works and the act of birding – you have to slow down and take your time studying the details,” said Paula Reich, the Museum’s managing editor and the curator of the exhibition. “Each time you view one of his paintings, you’re discovering something new.”
Tomaselli, a Santa Monica, California, native was born in 1956 and has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (2014) and at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014). His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and the Brooklyn Museum.
The artist uses a wide range of materials in his work, suspending pharmaceuticals in hard resin or turning an issue of the New York Times into a canvas. In the exhibition Keep Looking, birds appear in an explosion of intense pattern, and nature’s colors are magnified by his use of the decorative traditions of the East.
Since 2011, the Masters Series has brought world-renowned artists, scholars, musicians and others to share their knowledge and talents at the Museum’s Peristyle. The series is sponsored in part by the TMA Ambassadors, a group of active Museum supporters and fundraisers.
The lecture is one of many free programs related to Keep Looking and inspired by the Biggest Week in American Birding. Below is a complete list.
FREE Lecture: Artists, the Landscape, and the Creation of the National Park System
with Terry Seidel
May 15: 2 p.m., GlasSalon
Terry Seidel, director of land protection for the Nature Conservancy of Ohio, discusses the role that artists played in the creation of the National Park System, featuring works from the Toledo Museum of Art exhibition The American West: Photographs of a New Frontier, and paintings from the Museum’s permanent collection. Seidel also compares these images of the western United States with historic depictions of Ohio and what the state looks like today. (This program was rescheduled from its original March 27 date.)
FREE Gallery Talk: Avian Art: Birding in the Galleries with Paula Reich
May 19: 7 p.m., Meet in Libbey Court
Inspired by the exhibition Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds, Paula Reich, the Toledo Museum of Art’s head of interpretive projects and managing editor, leads a birding trip through the Toledo Museum of Art galleries in search of two- and three-dimensional birds.
FREE Reading: Plein Air Poetry with Terry Blackhawk
May 26: 7 p.m., Museum Grounds
Award-winning poet and birder Terry Blackhawk (author of The Light Between and The Dropped Hand) brings her love of writing about nature and art to the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art with a reading that celebrates our connections with the natural world. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds, listeners can expect some surprise avian guests.
FREE Color Wheels Community Bike Ride: Nature Ride
May 28: 10 a.m., Meet at Glass Pavilion Parkwood Entrance
Join a Toledo Museum of Art guide on a bicycle ride through downtown and the surrounding area’s natural spaces, with a focus on flora and fauna. Space is limited and pre-registration is required; to sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 419-255-8000 ext. 7453.
FREE Exhibition Talk: Material and Means: The Visionary Worlds of Fred Tomaselli with Works on Paper Curator Robin Reisenfeld
June 25: 2 p.m., Little Theater
Robin Reisenfeld, the Toledo Museum of Art’s new curator of works on paper, explores Fred Tomaselli’s artmaking process and his incorporation of unconventional materials and use of collage. Learn how the artist’s unusual choice of materials informs our interpretation of his works and connects to others in the Museum collection that rely upon unexpected and surprising media. Tomaselli’s works are on view in the Gallery 6 focus exhibition Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds through Aug. 7.
FREE Family Center Activity: Recycled Bird Houses!
June 7 and 9: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
June 10: 3:30-8 p.m.
Inspired by the exhibition Keep Looking: Fred Tomaselli’s Birds, create a bird house using recycled materials. Activities at the Family Center are designed for children accompanied by an adult. The Family Center is sponsored in part by The Andersons.
FREE Music: Hear This, a Toledo Listening Party
July 7: 7 p.m., GlasSalon
Inspired by artist Fred Tomaselli’s love of music and his long tradition of record parties, the Museum hosts its own community listening event. Bring your favorite tune, happiest recent discovery, or whatever other single piece of music you’d like to share on whatever format you have: vinyl, cassettes, CDs or electronic devices.
The Sound of Silents: “The Blue Bird”
July 21: 7 p.m., Peristyle
Wildly inventive and effortlessly enchanting, Maurice Tourneur’s legendary 1918 fantasy “The Blue Bird” combines spectacular costumes, lavish sets and ingenious camera effects in a wholly original American silent film masterpiece. Tourneur’s film takes two young children on an allegorical voyage that bridges the chasm between the conscious and the unconscious. Joined by magically humanized pets and household objects, brother and sister Mytyl and Tyltyl travel through a series of dream worlds on a quest for the elusive Blue Bird of Happiness. (1918, 81 minutes)
FREE Sunday Family Film Club and Family Program: Bird is the Word
July 24: 12-5 p.m., GlasSalon and Museum Grounds
Celebrate fine feathered friends with this family program inspired by the work of artists Jaume Plensa and Fred Tomaselli, both the focus of exhibitions at the Toledo Museum of Art. Make art, write poems and take it easy with an indoor picnic in the GlasSalon as you watch the classic family film “Fly Away Home” (1996, 107 minutes) starring Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin as a father and daughter who attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by air.