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In A Perfect World: Optimism in an Age of Anxiety

October 12 through November 20, 2020

Ringel Gallery, Stewart Center, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN


Artists Roberto Lugo and Mat Tomezsko create artwork that is rooted in immediate political, social, and environmental concerns, but which takes the long view to look at humanity’s legacy of ingenuity and resilience in the face of struggle. Both artists use their chosen medium and practice to explore contemporary ideas through a historical lens and further notions of representation, accessibility, education, democratization, and expression. 


Both raised in Philadelphia, but coming from different backgrounds, Lugo and Tomezsko’s collaborative partnership offers different perspectives and approaches to common goals. 


Lugo’s introspective artwork looks inward to explore concepts of identity, family legacy, oppression, and resilience. Often using himself as a subject, he exposes how appearance and association affect the interpretation of an artwork, person, and culture. Combining hip hop, graffiti, painting, and porcelain, his artwork is a multicultural mash-up, challenging boundaries between disciplines, and offering a unified vision where multiple influences exist within a single tradition. Tomezsko looks outward to long-term social structures to illuminate the interconnectedness of creative and destructive forces. Working with imagery and materials such as fire, ash, flowers, fruit, circulars, asphalt, and coal, his mixed-media collages and paintings use materials that act simultaneously as medium and metaphor. 


Community engagement and participation is an important aspect of both artists’ practice. 

They extend their creative action beyond the gallery wall and into the public. Drawing from the strength and flaws of the past, both artists aim to push art traditions forward to become inclusive, accessible, and empowering.

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