Gun violence, mass shootings and lockdown drills have become part of the fabric of modern American culture. By manipulating plaster and scale, Rich Tomasello examines the effects of violence and voyeurism on our fragile innocence in “RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.”
Since 2012, the year of Sandy Hook’s school shooting, Rich has analyzed the attributes of violence and the role that technology plays to the desensitization of mass shootings and other violent events. Masculinity, conformity and power are some of the characteristics that are explored within Rich’s large-scale plaster sculptures. As a father and teacher, Rich’s sculptural commentary on violence has led to works that can be seen as overpowering and oppressive icons of western culture. While the white plaster is at once strong it is also vulnerable and prone to cracking, which is a reminder of the delicate state of human life.
It’s no secret that American society has been plagued by mass shootings and the government’s negligence to act on gun control. While we are faced with these realities in news reports or through real time on social media, Rich’s work acknowledges our present and explores a chaotic future that yearns for a more innocent past.
Rich Tomasello is from Buffalo New York. He earned a BFA in Illustration from the University at Buffalo and an MA in Art Education from Buffalo State College. Tomasello’s mixed-media work has been featured on The Huffington Post and has been shown in many group and solo exhibitions including: Into Action in Los Angeles, Truth to Power during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Erie Art Museum, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Memorial Art Gallery, and Politicon in Pasadena. He has had work commissioned by the New York State Council on the Arts through ArtsWestchester Gallery and his art has been displayed alongside Robert Longo, Swoon, Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring, Banksy, and Guerrilla Girls.
“The work I make is directly influenced by the violent and voyeuristic world children are growing up in. Gun violence and school shootings have become commonplace in the United States and the lockdown drills practiced daily by American schoolchildren have become the norm. Handheld video recording technology, primarily smartphones, allows us to capture, post, and share the violence in real-time. My work shines a light on the fear and anxiety created by the pervasive nature of current American culture.”