Autumn’s Come Undone for Shag

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 11 Nov 2009
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The highly-anticipated exhibition of new works by Southern California artist Josh Agle, better known as “Shag” comes to LA’s Corey Helford Gallery.

For the past decade, Agle’s iconic environments and playful narratives have sublimely captured California cool, mid-century modern design and lifestyles of the retro glamourati. His new exhibition Autumn’s Come Undone represents a turning point for Agle, adopting darker themes and a deeper palette to explore life’s excesses.

“Something happened to me in the last year – call it an unexpected change-of-heart, if you like, but a lot of the unfettered hedonism my artwork espoused has begun to catch up with me,” Agle explains.


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Somber hues of okra, burnt oranges, and delicate grays, replace Agle’s signature acid brights, and as his subjects near the autumn of their lives, they venture away from suburban comforts to embrace a simpler, more authentic way of life. For the exhibition, Shag will unveil a series of “dreamscapes” rendered as diptych and triptych giclee prints on canvas, each a limited-edition of 5, as well as a series of original paintings.

Open to the public, the reception for Autumn’s Come Undone takes place on Saturday, November 21, and the show will be on view until December 9, 2009.

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About the Artist:

Josh Agle is a painter and designer from Los Angeles who is probably better known by the name he signs on his paintings, “Shag.” Agle has spent the last decade creating a body of work based on his idiomatic aesthetic preference, a world of mid 20th century modern architecture and design, populated by hedonists, supplicants, and indifferent women.  

The paintings themselves celebrate consumerism and consumption on vividly colored, sharply rendered panels; the characters drink, smoke and eat in lavish, stylish surroundings. But Agle sees the visuals of his work as window-dressing or stage scenery.  He’s more concerned with the narrative of the art.  “Most of my paintings are set in the middle of a story or situation -- characters are interacting and reacting to each other and to outside events.” Agle doesn’t offer too many clues about the stories, preferring that the viewer create his or her own narratives to fit the situations.  

While Shag’s work might easily be dismissed as retro-kitsch, the influential New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith, has called his painting catchy and witty, saying “the eye is snared by Mr. Agle’s economic use of saturated colors -- sharp greens and warm lavenders, smoldering reds, sour ochres -- and the tinted-gel space created by his thin-on-thin paint handling.” Interest by museum curators and academics culminated with a solo exhibition of his work at the Laguna Art Museum in early 2008.

For more information about Josh Agle, please visit shag.com.

 

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