On a spring night in 2000, Richard Tomasello was assaulted at a bar near the Buffalo State College campus. As Tomasello wrote in an illustrated narrative of the event, six or seven young men surrounded and began to harass him as three people on the bar's patio looked on.
"I crawled outside, onto the patio, and one of the three people that watched this happen laughed at me," Tomasello writes. His latest body of work, "Breed," on view starting today in an exhibition in 464 Gallery (464 Amherst St.) is a direct outgrowth of that experience.
Like much of Tomasello's work since that terrible night 12 years ago, his current exhibition uses the specific, unwavery iconography he created to represent his assailants, the onlookers and members of society at large. Drawing from Eugene Ionesco's famous absurdist play "Rhinoceros," Tomasello's drawn and sculpted figures -- simplified human heads with single horns protruding from the forehead -- point to his concerns about a culture of conformity, violence and voyeurism.
The work in "Breed," a combination of sculpture and pen-and-ink drawing, is directed largely at the idea that society mass-produces the active and passive elements of a violent culture. The show opens with a reception at 6 tonight and runs through March 21. For more information, call 983-2112 or visit 464's new website at www.464gallery.com.
-- Colin Dabkowski