As the self-proclaimed epicenter of all that is bizarre, San Francisco has a long history of fostering odd and visionary characters, dating as far back as Emperor Norton (1819-1880), who declared himself emperor of America, issued his own money, and abolished the Republican and Democratic parties (well, perhaps that's not so crazy). Still, it takes more than talking to oneself on Muni or wearing clothing made out of aluminum cans to stake a claim on quirkiness in S.F.
New Langton Arts hopes it's got the eccentric market cornered with its new exhibition "Stranger Than You," which brings together seven oddballs -- local and otherwise -- whose unifying vision is of human aberration. These illustrators, comic book designers, and figurative artists use the humor of the absurd to reveal a darker side of humanity -- or at least not humanity at its best.
New York-based illustrator Eric White takes liberties with images of bygone celebrities, inflating their heads and distending their bodies as if by wide-angle injection. Amy Cutler's trippy paintings emerge from a warped children's book, evoking a scene in which a girl stretches a rubbery goat's neck 20 feet over a white picket fence. Other artists similarly plumb the disturbed odds and ends of the human psyche, crossing paths at that corner in the brain where the real and surreal collide.
Reception in conjunction with a simultaneous reception for the Cartoon Art Museum's "Even More Stranger Than You" (up through Feb. 25) at 814 Mission (at Fourth Street), Second Floor, S.F. Regular admission is free-$5; call 227-8666. Both receptions are free.