Oakland based painter Max Kauffman (covered here) seeks to find peace in his soft, loose watercolors that reflect chaos. This journey often leads him to colorful, abstract structures like houses, which he calls his “sanctuaries”. In his artist statement, he says, “The world I portray is sometimes yours and mine and sometimes a more magical place – I call it future primitive. It is a potential path or maybe just a way to reconnect with more pure ideas of culture from our past. It is knowing empires crumble, but accepting the growth that emerges in the aftermath.” His latest series of paintings for “Beautiful Squalor”, now on view at Parlor Gallery in New Jersey, seems to find them in a state of visual disintegration.
Jeff Soto (HF Vol. 18) celebrated his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since 2009 on Saturday night with “Nightgardens” at KP Projects/MKG. We recently discussed the exhibition with Soto in our studio visit here, where Soto shared his continued interest in landscapes: “Nightgardens” is an exploration of the magic and mystery in life coupled very loosely with the tradition of landscape painting. For this show I am using the concept of “nighttime” as a symbol of the unknown. I’m working on creating an imaginary world of magic, monsters and daydreams that exists in a different time and place, yet alludes to issues in our chaotic modern world.”
Mattias Adolfsson is an artist and illustrator working from his studio in Sigtuna, Sweden, just outside of the capital city of Stockholm. His path to being an illustrator took several turns, beginning with his interest in Mathematics and Architecture in his university days – eventually finding his rhythm as an illustrator after years of work doing 3D animations for the game industry. Infused thoroughly with a wonderful sense of humor and whimsy, Adolfsson’s work is a combination of hand-rendered ink drawings with watercolor accents that he meticulously produces in his sketchbooks. Adolfsson’s latest book, The Second In Line, has garnered the artist the prestigious Most Beautiful Swedish Book award by the Swedish Bonkkonst.
The word “escapism” can have a negative meaning, suggesting that escapists are unhappy and unable to connect with the world around them. It sounds like a surreal concept, but in our every day lives, on social media for example, we find ways to divert from reality. Daniel Merriam’s recent exhibition at AFA Gallery challenges the notion that escapism is fundamentally negative. “It’s not a sin, it’s not a crime, it’s not a disease… You think of escapism as being denial. So a little bit of escapism is considered good – too much is not,” he shares. “Now You See Me: The Art of Escapism” is Merriam’s reflection on this idea.
Currently living in Colombia, John Barrios (previously covered here) portrays a surreal world rich with color and detail in his oil paintings. He strips down this world in his haunting black and white mixed media drawings. Barrios’ drawings, a combination of Graph Gear 500 mechanical pencil and watercolor, look similar to the under layers of his painted works. Their soft shading and light values reflect on his fascination with the subtleties of light. See more after the jump.
If Daniel Merriam’s watercolors were books, they would be fairytales once upon a time in a far away European dreamland. The painter, who is currently exhibiting at AFA Gallery (covered here), compares his process to a writer’s. In our recent interview, Merriam told us about the influence of 17th and 18th century Baroque architecture on his works which he draws from memory. Although imaginary, his elaborate structures must be believable in their world, and he builds them out carefully as a point of reference. In this sense, one could also call him an architect.