Max Kauffman /   Max Kauffman

United States 1981

Street Art, Painting

Max Kauffman
Max Kauffman
United States
September 23, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

Best known for his outstanding post-apocalyptic folk tales on canvases, Max Kauffman is an American contemporary artist who doesn’t afraid of taking more risks or traveling the longer road to get to an idea for his work. A bit of a hodgepodge of things, Kauffman’s paintings shift deftly between abstraction and figuration by blurring the distinction between real and imagined, conscious and unconscious. The suggesting and exploding forms presented in his amazing body of work invite the observer’s own imaginative references and conjure the joyful mess of living.

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Max Kauffman — Mood Swings A (Left) / Mood Swings B (Right)

Max Kauffman’s Spacescapes

Kauffman grew up in South Bend, Indiana, where he had a very adventurous childhood spending time outside exploring swamps and woods, which had a lasting effect of the work he produces. Taking influence from his childhood dreams, music, the dichotomy between the urban and bucolic and South American folk art, as well as from his vision of how our civilization will end, Max Kauffman creates stunning spacescapes with a limited color palette and a strong architectural underpinning. The hustle of urban life and deep woods hermiting the realms of real and magic, Max’s pieces encompass a sense of uncontrollable chaos and an almost folkloric approach to their subject matter.

Kauffman’s pieces encompass an almost folkloric approach to their subject matter

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Max Kauffman — Homesteading, installation view

When the Current Dictates

Kauffman has spent last several years on the road exploring new possibility, embracing risk, and adapting to plans on the fly. As the results, he got new ideas and openness to the possibilities in practice. The fact that he was not able to have a daily routine he used to, inspired the artist to get out of his comfort zone and push his work in new ways. After almost a decade of working on paper, he decided to apply that technique to panel, into an entirely new direction with linen. On September 16th, 2016, Max Kauffman opened his first solo show after almost two years presenting his latest body of work. Entitled When the Current Dictates, the show is featured in CASS Contemporary’s permanent satellite gallery located on the ground level of Tampa’s chic Epicurean Hotel. In one of his earlier two-man show Meta Structures, he investigated how we draw comfort from inanimate objects and habitats that we occupy, letting them shape us.

He investigats how we draw comfort from inanimate objects and habitats that we occupy,
letting them shape us

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Max Kauffman — Yesterday’s Promise, Tommorow’s Dust, installation shots

Mural for LeQuiVive Gallery

Though Kauffman typically works small-scale with media such as watercolor and acrylic, his work also encompasses sculpture, drawing, installation, and outdoors. He created an amazing mural for LeQuiVive Gallery’s mural project in Oakland, California in late 2014. Filled with folk art motifs, the triptych spans an entire city block. Loosely rendering the forms of animals, flowers, and houses, Kauffman uses figurative elements as a jumping off point to explore organic patterns and textile-inspired designs. Despite his creative personality, Max keeps his color palette minimal.

Amongst painting, he also makes sculpture, drawing, installation, and outdoors

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Max Kauffman — mural for LeQuiVive Gallery’s project in Oakland, California, 2015

“Messy, Clean, Really Messy, Clean Again, Done”

Max Kauffman was born in 1981. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics, with a minor in Anthropology from Arizona State University in 2004. The painter describes his creative process as “messy, then clean, then really messy, then clean again, then it’s done.” Most recently, he enjoyed working on two or three pieces at the same time and having them all inform each other. However, with big complicated pieces, he works on one at a time but jumps to smaller works to take a break. He has participated in many solo and group shows across the United States as well as Italy, Canada and Israel. His work has been featured in publications like Boom, Lost at E Minor, Beautiful Decay, Wallfarmers, and Supersonic Electronic, to name a few. Max has collaborated with Mountain Dew, Nike, and Arbor on projects, and have written for Hi Fructose on and off since 2008.

Max Kauffman currently lives in Oakland, California.

Featured image: Portrait of the artist
All images courtesy of the artist

YearName of the exhibitionMuseum/GallerySolo/Group
2016When the Current DictatesCass Contemporary Gallery, Tampa Bay, FLSolo
2016Winter Group ShowVertical Gallery, Chicago, ILGroup
2015Fresh BrewStephanie Chefas Projects, Portland, ORGroup
2015 […]MUTE COA Gallery, Montreal, CanadaGroup
2015Beautiful Squalor, w Jesse RenoParlor Gallery, Asbury Park, NJGroup
2015Meta Structures, w Brian RobertsonBlack Book Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2014Innate Practices, w Marcelo MacedoLow Gallry, San DiegoGroup
2014Aether CeremonyBlack Book Gallery, Denver, COSolo
2014Scope New York, w Black Book Gallery New YorkGroup
2013Home Again, Home AgainLequivive Gallery, Oakland, CA Solo
2013Scope Miami, w Black Book Gallery MiamiGroup
2013DrawableCinders Gallery Gainesville, FLGroup
2013Art Auction 15CAGroup
2013Group Show 2Gildar Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2012The Reptilian Brain in Autumn Gildar Gallery, Denver, COSolo
2012We’re all just Colors Wallfarmers Gallery, Courtenay, BC Solo
2012Fresh ProduceAnno Domini gallery, San Jose, CA Group
2012All in it together nowBelieve Inn, Chicago, ILGroup
2011Migrations w Brian RobertsonIlliterate Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2010R’fuahPawn Works, Chicago, ILSolo
2010Re:form schoolpresented by the Hole NYC, New York, NYGroup
2010G4 showArt Whino, Washington, DCGroup
2009Ghosts of IndustryPush Gallery, Asheville, NCSolo
2009Something Outside my WindowC.A.V.E., Los Angeles, CAGroup
2009Auction #14Long Beach Museum of Art, Group
2009Variety ShowHalogen Gallery, Seattle, WAGroup
2009No AnnunciarAndenken Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2009Young Blood GalleryAtlanta, GAGroup
2009Wallfarmers Launch Vancouver, BCGroup
2008Niche Living w Mike GallegosIndy Ink, Denver, COGroup
2008Puddle TownCompound Gallery, Portland, ORGroup
2008Skip the MallBlack Maria Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2008Mecha OrganicaSuite 100, Seattle, WAGroup
2008Poster Parade True Love Gallery, Savona, ItalyGroup
2007The Rocktapus FliesPravus Gallery, Phoenix, AZSolo
2007Cannibal FlowerLos Angeles, CAGroup
2007DeckPerihelion Arts, Phoenix, AZGroup
2007Blacklight ShowThe Hive Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2007The RisingWindup Gallery, Mesa, AZGroup
2006Holiday showSouth Bend Regional Museum of ArtGroup
2006UnknownBig Car Gallery, Indianapolis, INGroup