Real Past, Imagined Future

A Cuban family's sad saga and visions of a freaky new world

"Ubiquitous Images" contains a large collection of work spanning three years. Drawings, studies, and gadgets commingle. Not all follow a cohesive stylistic line, but they illustrate LoCastro's promising growth. As he embellishes his panels, literally painting over the frames' area with bubbles, vines, and printed-face illustrations, the gallery atmosphere becomes a bit psychedelic.

There is a woman's portrait that could have been taken from Dario Argento's 1980 film Inferno, in the company of mutants whose faces feature hollow, flashing dollar-sign eyes. Another painting shows a thug in a Wal-Mart cap, calmly ready to shoot. With this prospect, our best hope is to make friends with the mutant world, from whom we may find much to learn. LoCastro's Turn on the Magic has singer Tom Waits striking a groovy pose while operating a zapping mutant box from which two ectoplasmic critters gleefully materialize.

Watch out for frightening aliens prowling your favorite resorts, as in LoCastro's Meanwhile in Tokyo, where huge, greenish insect beings battle with robots while a Japanese schoolgirl, whose arm sprouts a Jiminy Cricket mutant face, gets in combat mode.

Elizabeth Cerejido's 26 de junio, 1971
Elizabeth Cerejido's 26 de junio, 1971
The Vicious Circle of Society by Francesco 
The Vicious Circle of Society by Francesco LoCastro


Through April 16. Call 305-573-2700.
Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, 3550 N Miami Ave., Miami

This is where LoCastro's humor wins. We've literally become the world of cartoons we concocted long ago, whereas mutants and androids populate the Earth and try to imitate our past behavior.

I perceive a Bosch strain in LoCastro's art as the eruption of fantasy articulates these monstrous, apocalyptic scenes; a disconcerting blend of illusion and reality. Yet unlike Bosch, LoCastro is neither a pessimist nor a self-righteous moralist. In fact he sees his work as a fusion of cartoon and Realism, which he labels "dualistic theory."

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