Max Kauffman’s current solo show at Loakal Gallery, “Your Vulnerability Makes You Beautiful,” offers new vividly colorful mixed-media works on paper and a large mural greeting visitors at the entrance, all of which reflect the artist’s inspiration from architecture, indigenous South American art, his studies in Anthropology as an undergraduate at Arizona State University, and daily observations in Oakland, where he lives. Says Kauffman, “My work evokes a post apocalyptic DIY culture where structures and life itself are cobbled together out of anything at hand. It’s making the most out of what you have and what’s around you.” Kauffman reaches a fine level of artistry in this “apocalyptic” chaos by not trying to remove or clean the organic quality of mark-making by the human hand, but instead providing refined, figurative complements amid the abstraction. Intricate pen details of brightly-colored stacked brickwork, scalloped patterning, and other shapes and designs provide a powerful visual experience when paired with expressive, sweeping gestures of watercolors at various shades of pigment concentration. Kauffman’s intricately designed works of pen, watercolor and highly textured paper are also testaments to his fascination with the hand-made, almost tactile quality of art.
Max Kauffman, “Your Vulnerability Makes You Beautiful” is at Loakal, 560 2nd St through October 2.