Louis Masai paints creatures threatened by climate change

By Christina Campodonico

Louis Masai gives human names to animal portraits — this one’s titled “Brad” — that call attention to species threatened by man

The art and natural worlds collide at C.A.V.E. Gallery with British artist Louis Masai’s solo exhibition “Sixth Extinction” and new works by Brazilian street artist L7m in the Project Room.

“Sixth Extinction” is Masai’s first U.S. solo show, but the artist isn’t a stranger to Venice. You may have seen his work while strolling around Abbot Kinney Boulevard, where a mural of a giant patchwork style lobster adorns the back of AK’s G2 Gallery.

Masai paints endangered animals like this to bring attention to the threat that the human world poses to the natural one.

“I’ve called the show ‘Sixth Extinction’ because the species that I’m painting are directly affected by habitat loss, climate change. And the more people that become intrigued by what’s going on with the environment, the more chance we have of essentially protecting it,” says Masai in a preview video for the show.

Joining Masai’s acrylic paintings on reclaimed wood are the bold and striking canvasses of L7m. This artist’s dynamic images of birds of paradise and prey are typically found on the streets of Brazil, but at C.A.V.E. they’re accompanied by portraits of alluring women — a femme fatale eyeing you from beneath a cascade of curls, or a punkish woman with a pixie cut giving you a seductive stare with one eye.

From endangered species to erotic fantasy, C.A.V.E. Gallery has created a wild and whimsical jungle for you to explore your inner art animal.

“Sixth Extinction” is on view from noon to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and by appointment on Sundays and Mondays through June 3 at C.A.V.E. Gallery, 55 N. Venice Blvd., Venice. Call (310) 428-6387 or visit cavegallery.net.