Nick Hackworth

Fred Tomaselli and Stephen Gontarski at White Cube

Essays & Reviews Evening Standard

TWO visions of the world, appropriately warped for the 21st century, are on show at White Cube. In the main gallery 48-year-old US artist Fred Tomaselli shows a new series of his distinctive, complex, colourful and highly decorative works. A latter-day Giuseppe Arcimboldo infused with a psychedelic sensibility (and substances), he collages thousands of fragmentary images from books and magazines to form figures of humans, animals and abstract patterns. Passages of painting and patterns of objects, like leaves and pills, are woven into the works, which are finished with layers of thick, clear resin that confer an impression of smooth, seamless unity to the whole. Bright, attractive and intelligent, they depict the whole world as being formed from the same building blocks of tiny images, so that all is one in the same weird, trippy universe. Upstairs in the gallery’s project space, Stephen Gontarski, a fellow countryman based in London, shows a similar unwillingness to present idealised human forms. His sculptures of human figures, two of which are on display, evoke the classical in their pose and display and the contemporary in their form and substance, being made of shiny fibreglass. Prophet Zero is a naked male, striking a typical romantic pose, who wears a sinister bird mask, with a long dipping beak, echoing the look of an Egyptian god or Venetian plague doctor. The Fourth Prophet (Through the Eyes of the One Left Behind) is another, similarly slim male figure whose form is melted, his head a void, an expression of the fears felt of the meeting of the natural and the synthetic that is promised by the future, for humans and other animals.

Until 15 January. Information: 020 7930 5373.