Center for Audio & Visual Expression




On view July 12 – August 2, 2014

For more information please


MAX NEUTRA – “Only Natural”

(Venice, CA) C.A.V.E. Gallery is pleased to announce Max Neutra’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. Over the years, Max has established himself as one of Los Angeles’ favorite artists – with fans from young to old. Max’s bold and natural style is distinct – and his creativity endless. He continues to awe and amaze by integrating his painterly gonzo style with his curiosity about technology, communication and perception. For this exhibition – the artist has created a colony of “singing” cicadas – each equipped with a built-in speaker emanating a buzzing symphony composed by the artist. This show – like his past sold-out shows – will be unique and memorable experience that will not disappoint.

Ambassador berlin 3 openc Signed Ambassador Cicada Certificate_web



“When C.A.V.E. Gallery asked me what my third show with them was going to be about, I told them I wanted to produce a celebration of nature.  Being a fan of the natural history scene, I have my share of collected bones and shells and insects, and I marvel at their beauty.  So I thought I would try to avoid the subject of our inescapable marriage to technology that I so often like to explore, and call this show “Only Natural”.

With the concept of the show established, I set forth on executing new work, but I soon realized that trying to edit myself by excluding “unnatural” subject matter felt…unnatural.  It turned out that changing what I wanted to do did not change what I actually am.  Besides, the popular interpretation on classic natural history suddenly seems outdated.  The world is changing.  Environments are changing, and the living creatures that inhabit those environments are changing.  What does “Only Natural” really mean these days anyway?

Some of the seeds for these thoughts were planted when I was in Berlin.  At first I was struck by the abundance of street art and wheat pasted advertisements, but it did not take long for the miles of paint and posters to feel like an inherent part of the landscape.  The mountains have trees, and Berlin has an ever changing skin.  The posts thick with layers of paper, changing with the seasons.  I started collecting bits and pieces as if they were dried leaves in a forest and brought them back with me to use in the studio.

In the end, the show is still a celebration of nature.  Only Natural.  It’s about recognizing technology as part of our evolution.  It’s about accepting urban elements as part our natural habitat.  It’s about resonating with our environment.  It’s about being who we already are.”

The idea of the Ambassador Cicadas stems from a recent epiphany I had about the role of music in human evolution.  This is something that I could go on and on about, but the short version is that I see music as a byproduct of humans adapting to their environment, and that music plays a role in the way we perceive our surroundings.  Perhaps one day, through our ongoing use and development of music, we will develop a higher sensitivity to a wider spectrum of frequencies, empowering us to experience a more thorough understanding of our surroundings.

So how do I, a humble artist, participate in this new frontier of frequency expansion?  If I had my druthers, I would be teaming up with scientists and developing experiments to study the possibilities.  But what can I do right here right now?  I decided that there are ways that I can start the conversation, and create simple products using current technology that can at least begin to nudge us in the direction I already see us going.  The Ambassador Cicada is just one of several ideas that stem from this theory of mine, and I am excited to see where they take us.

In the spirit of expanding our abilities to perceive our surroundings, I have created an installation that expands on the traditional man made auditory experience.  instead of the usual stereo configuration, each Cicada will have their own individual speaker and source material.  It’s not one big twenty-speaker system, but twenty individual systems creating a singular experience.  Each Cicada has a wooden box that the speaker is placed inside of, giving the digitally reproduced sound a layer of organic resonance.  The Cicada acts as a liaison between the digital technology and physical reality, which allows the listener to experience the recording as presented by an organic object.

By placing the Cicadas throughout the room, the listener gets a real sense of being surrounded by these vibrating creatures, heightening their sense of self within that physical space.  By stimulating the listener with this unique experience, we are expanding the listeners sound localization abilities.  Perhaps this can lead to a deeper relationship with reality.  Perhaps, simple sound machines such as the Ambassador Cicadas can play a small role in the development of our understanding of the universe at large.

No matter what role the Cicadas play in our story, at the least they have come to life.  With this show, I set out to create a unique experience, and that is something that I believe I have succeeded in.  The Cicadas are not just vehicles for the delivery of sound, but stand alone as remarkable objects on their own.  The brushed metal in contrast with the grains of wood creates a friendly weight, reassuring in their feel of something hand made.  They are like wise anchors.  Ambassadors from the land of wood and metal, here to reconnect you to your environment, and I am pleased to be able to introduce them to you.


SHAI DAHAN – “Homecoming”

Having lived in various countries and cities around the world, Shai Dahan’s work is inspired by cultural motifs that surround him. He has developed a unique style using acrylic, oils and spray paint to create bold and colorful paint gestures integrated into depictions of iconic and historical figures.

Dahan returns to Los Angeles, the city he grew up in – for his exhibition “Homecoming”. New paintings will be exhibited alongside graphite drawings for each work. For this show, the artist continues his examination of historical characters from the early 1900s, this time exploring the stories of the blue-collar workers, those that got their hands dirty to provide for their families and those that fought for their country. Each piece depicts a moment in a story relating to a homecoming experience.



Shai Dahan was born in 1979 in Haifa, Israel and then moved to Los Angeles when he was ten years old. As teenager he was introduced to the graffiti culture and then immersed himself in the local surf and skateboard scene. He began painting on surfboards and skateboards which evolved into a passion to create public street art.

In 2007, Dahan moved to New York City where he participated in street-art projects such as the New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT), the Underbelly Project, and MOM&POPism. He also began to exhibit his art with galleries in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.

After moving to Sweden in 2010, Dahan began to create reinterpretations of the traditional Swedish Dalecarlian (Dala) horses and Royal Guard figures – expressed with a contemporary urban art aesthetic. His work began to gain media attention, and in 2012 he was the first street artist to have a solo show at the Boras Art Museum in Sweden.

In 2012, Dahan also traveled to Palestinian territories in Israel, where he painted a 5 meter mural of an Arab Bedouin on the West Bank Barrier wall in Bethlehem. The project was documented for a film titled “Art on the Seam”. After the trip, Dahan was asked to give the keynote talk at TEDx Gotebörg, titled “Beyond Borders”, about his experience in Palestine and the mural he painted there.

In 2013, Dahan co-founded EAST 39th, a menswear clothing branch based in Sweden.


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