Photo Feature: “Devolution” at Fifty24SF Gallery

by Admin on 09/09/2015

“Devolution” now at San Francisco’s Fifty24SF Gallery, includes artwork by international and national artists Smithe, Tina Lugo, and Benjamin Constantine; and Bay Area artist Lauren YS.  Through each artists’ surreal, human figurative images rendered in bizarre novel mutations, the group exhibition explores the limits and the possibilities of the physical form.

Benjamin Constantine, working in Brisbane, Australia, and Mexico City-based artist Smithe both present humanoid characters whose physical visages as well as their behaviors are symbiotic responses between themselves and the environment. Viewers find Constantine’s multiple impish creatures caught in heightened emotional states, exacerbated by the dark and yet light color palette, while surrounded by equally frenetic environs, which illustrate the response and reaction to states and places of being. By the same token, Smithe’s work of zombie-like figures, resting upon thrones of undetermined importance,  which seem to float in a completely void landscape, or his head portraits, where the flesh has already begun to peel from its cheeks as it suffers the comet-like assails from above and below.

Artworks like those by Bay Area artist Lauren YS and Tina Lugo from the Bronx, which express conflicting visual language of sexual subject matter with a cartoonish tongue-in-cheek humor, contrast the childlike and naive physical human behaviors with pursuit of primitive, violent responses and carnal desires. Lugo’s images drawn in Japanese comic-inspired style fashioned in a smooth, glossy finish of enamel and plexiglass, depicts a world both transparent and censored, alluring but repellent. In Lauren YS’s paintings on panel and original drawings colorful, sci-fi characters are playfully at odds — almost each fight intriguingly focused upon the seat of human identity, the head — with extraterrestrial beings who are forced to coexist in a dystopian future. In this way, Lugo and YS’s practices reveal the at times contradictory nature of human behavior, at once intellectual and rudimentary, as well as the multitude physical states of being in which humans, or some species of such, must exist.


“Devolution” will be at Fifty24SF through mid-September, 2015.