Wynorrific Times: Roberto Lugo and Mat Tomezsko
October 4, 2019 through January 5, 2020
PHILADELPHIA – Wynorrific Times is a two-person show featuring new work by Roberto Lugo and Mat Tomezsko. The exhibition is a visual exploration of the social conditions and historical through-lines that make our contemporary world both terrible and beautiful.
Lugo and Tomezsko, both raised in Philadelphia, share a sensibility that is informed by graffiti and the urban environment of the city. Lugo’s works are multicultural mash-ups, European and Asian porcelain forms reimagined as vessels of representation for those historically absent from such luxury items. His work balances the perceptions associated with porcelain and hip hop, combining seemingly incongruous cultures into a single tradition. Tomezsko similarly uses medium in a metaphorical way, incorporating found materials such as weekly coupons and asphalt into formal abstract compositions. The works appear like post-war and minimalist paintings, but contain layers of imagery and meaning that operate outside of the visual system and traditional narrative.
Though rooted in the aesthetic of their upbringing, their artwork looks forward as they infuse fresh ideas and new expression into their chosen disciplines. Lugo and Tomezsko have maintained a collaborative partnership since first exhibiting together in 2013.
Roberto Lugo is an artist, ceramicist, activist, spoken-word poet, and educator. Lugo uses porcelain, a traditionally precious material, as his medium of choice, illuminating its aristocratic surface with imagery of poverty, inequality, and social and racial injustice. The hand-painted surfaces feature classic decorative patterns and motifs combined with elements of modern urban graffiti and portraits of individuals whose faces are historically underrepresented in the context of art history – people like Sojourner Truth, Dr. Cornel West, and The Notorious BIG, as well as Lugo’s family members and, very often, himself.
Mat Tomezsko is an artist, writer, and curator. He creates abstract paintings, public art installations, and community art projects based around people, language, and process. His work is informed by mid-century formalism and conceptualism, incorporates everyday materials, and makes connections between various creative disciplines. Community participation and public engagement are important aspects of his practice. His project, 14 Movements: A Symphony In Color And Words, a mile-long temporary mural installed in downtown Philadelphia during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, was recognized by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review for outstanding public art.
Lugo was named 2018 Ceramic Artist of the Year by the Ceramic Arts Network. Lugo holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Penn State. His work is part of the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, High Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, the Walters Art Museum, and more.
Tomezsko’s artwork has been exhibited at Thomas Hunter Projects in New York, NY; Woodmere Art Museum, in Philadelphia; Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, IL; and the Delaware Contemporary in Wilmington, DE. Tomezsko has created several public art projects including 14 Movements: A Symphony in Color and Words; and Flowering Axes, a mural under the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. His work is featured in a number of private and public collections including The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and Capital One in Wilmington, DE.