Santa Fe, New Mexico based artist Max Lehman instills humor and playfulness into his surreal ceramic sculptures of ancient characters. Like artifacts of his youth, his whimsical versions of South American pre-Columbian gods, ghosts, and other creatures embody everything that the artist grew up on and loves, including 1950s advertisements, cartoons, graffiti, and punk rock music. Perhaps there is no better description of his work than the title of his next exhibition, “Gods + Goop + Gobbledygook”, opening at Stranger Factory in New Mexico on January 8th. The exhibition will feature twenty hand-painted and glazed ceramic sculptures of new characters with roots in Maya, Aztec, Teotihuacán mythology. Working primarily in clay, Lehman’s works seamlessly blend contemporary with the ancient world where spontaneity and fun takes over, even in his depictions of darker figures from the underworld of the Aztecs. Lehman hand-paints many of them in neon colors, others black and white, and decorates them in their respective patterns and divination symbols. However, his characters do not always follow the rules and customs of their predecessors, opting to embrace nonsense as they blissfully smoke cigarettes and ride off in their bumper cars.
“Gods & Goop & Gobbledygook” by Max Legman will be on view at Stranger Factory from January 8th through January 31st, 2016.