Recent Pasadena Art Center College of Design graduate Devin Troy Strother has been scooped up by the Richard Heller Gallery, which is showing his work both in a group exhibit in New York and in a solo show at Bergamont Station—and it’s no wonder. One look at Strother’s vibrant fusions of acrylic, cut paper, ink, graphite and silkscreen (to name but a few media) and it’s clear that this urban-inspired artist has a powerful contemporary message to deliver about the inequities between people and the stereotypes generated from their struggles. The works in “Please Don’t Act a Fool in the Club: A Memory of the Sugar Shack & Stuntin‘ Like My Daddy” are imbued with energy and pulse with life, a vibe not merely derived from the mostly nightclub scenes depicted, but more so by the form these scenes take and the activities Strother chooses as his focus. Inspired by Ernie Barnes’ iconic Sugar Shack, Strother set out to build a narrative around that popular image (which Heller notes hangs as reproductions in many middle-class black homes) and his goal is supremely realized. Not only does Strother pay homage to a historic piece of social commentary, but he’s actually created a new avenue in which to discuss its modern incarnation. (Stacy Davies)
What: Devin Troy Strother’s “Please Don’t Act a Fool in the Club: A Memory of the Sugar Shack & Stuntin’ Like My Daddy.”
When/Where: Sept. 11-Oct. 9 at the Richard Heller Gallery, Bergamot Station Arts Center, 2525 Michigan Ave. B-5A, Santa Monica.