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Seth Kaufman proves less is more in Harris exhibit

Felicia Beardsley, interim associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was one of many guests at the Harris Gallery for the reception for Seth Kaufman’s solo exhibition on Tuesday. Kaufman’s three pieces from “The Breeder Series” are made from wood, adhesive and paint, and vary in height. The artist made the piece “Filial Rhapsody” by etching his name into ceiling “popcorn” texture on the wall. / photo by Jakeh Landrum

Carly Hill
Arts Editor

The Harris Gallery at the University of La Verne opened Tuesday with an unconventional “Solo Exhibition” by Seth Kaufman, Southern California resident and sculpture and design teacher at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

The exhibit has been in the works for more than a year and is a representation of six years of Kaufman’s creativity.

“This exhibit has a focus on several of Kaufman’s bodies of work,” said Dion Johnson, curator of the gallery. “It shows different processes and techniques he’s come up with.”

The exhibit is set up to show off the sculptures Kaufman has created.

The walls are stark white, and most are left blank.

Only one wall is completely covered with a “popcorn texture,” with calligraphy etched into it spelling “Seth Kaufman.”

“The wall piece features my mother’s calligraphy,” Kaufman said. “It is making a connection to shapes I grew up with and shapes I work with now. It’s profound.”

Kaufman’s sculptures were of various shapes and sizes, from a tall wood piece shaped like a skinny piece of coral entitled, “A Redolence of Edifice,” to a shorter green piece with yarn attached to it, entitled, “My Nascent Transgression.”

Most of the artwork was reminiscent of the ocean and the beautiful, distorted shapes of coral.

“I think it’s interesting,” said Adam Alvarez, sophomore psychology and photography major. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Kaufman has no formal art training, but grew up with art, he said.

“My first recollection of art was lying on my back, looking up at paintings at museums in New York,” Kaufman, a New Jersey native, said. “I was raised by artists.”

The lack of training has not hindered Kaufman’s creativity.

In fact, it has caused him to find art in unique ways, and look for the unusual on his own terms.

“I look at eggshells, cigarette butts,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where I am, if I can go to my furthest expectations, I can find something.”

Kaufman also displays his unique style of utilizing Polaroid film.

With the use of chemicals and transferring, he has been able to create colorful recreations of his high school graduation photograph from 1977.

“It’s different,” said Elizabeth Landin, senior art major. “It’s cool that it’s an artificial nature thing.”

The reception was full of faculty, staff and students who all seemed to have a positive reaction to the exhibit.

“I think it’s exciting,” said Al Clark, associate vice president of academic affairs. “The distribution of art and forms that are sculpted makes a great and fun experience.”

The exhibit is on display through Oct. 14.

Carly Hill can be reached at

Artist Seth Kaufman was happy to talk to guests and explain what each piece meant to him at his gallery reception held in the Harris Art Gallery on Tuesday. His solo exhibition consists of mainly sculptural pieces of all colors and textures, as well as some photographic works. / photo by Jakeh Landrum

Gallery visitor Joshua Sanders was drawn to Seth Kaufman’s sculptural installation “Sucker Too,” constructed of paint, adhesive and metal. Guests were particularly intrigued by “Sucker Too” because of its unconventional placement on the wall. / photo by Jakeh Landrum

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