Max Kauffman created a sprawling mural filled with folk art motifs for LeQuiVive Gallery’s mural project in Oakland’s Uptown neighborhood recently. Though he typically works small-scale with media such as watercolor and acrylic, Kauffman went big for his latest piece, creating a triptych that spans an entire city block. Loosely rendering the forms of birds, flowers, and houses, Kauffman uses figurative elements as a jumping off point to explore organic patterns and textile-inspired designs. Despite his busy imagery, he keeps his color palette minimal to give his figures room to breath.
Graffiti-writer-turned-figurative-painter Optimist has a solo show and retrospective opening at Oakland’s LeQuiVive Gallery on February 6 titled “Packrat’s Paradise.” A glimpse into his studio sheds light on the show’s tongue-in-cheek title. Optimist’s multilayered mixed-media works feature abstract elements, tightly painted figures, as well as ephemera like graffiti stickers and bus tickets. “Packrat’s Paradise” pays homage to graffiti culture while chronicling the artist’s creative evolution.
Yellena James explores a wildly flourishing imaginary ecosystem in her solo show “Radiance,” opening at LeQuiVive Gallery in Oakland on January 10. While paintings of flowers are traditionally on the tame side, James’s work is far-removed from your average still life. Her flat, stylized flora explodes from every corner of each piece. The brightly colored, biomorphic shapes are ambiguous and suggestive, sometimes even overwhelmingly energetic. James draws and paints them in combinations of acrylic, marker, and ink, inviting a playful dance of various textures. “Radiance” will include a site-specific mural at the gallery, as well.
San Francisco-based artist Zio Ziegler’s work requires two levels of the viewer’s attention. There are the large figures almost always present in his canvases, drawings and murals — Cubist-inspired bodies whose heads and limbs appear splayed out the surface. Ziegler stitches together these characters with intricate, collage-like patterns that often evoke indigenous, South American folk art forms. The repeating patterns within each figure inform our understand of the larger whole. His solo show “Intuitivism” opens tomorrow, November 15, at LeQuiVive Gallery in Oakland. Earlier this week, the artist painted a large-scale mural on the corner of 17th St. and Webster St. Take a look at some photos of the mural as well as a preview of the exhibition below.