Josh Agle aka “Shag” at the opening of his exhibition “Jungle Drums” on Saturday.
Los Angeles based painter Josh Agle, better known as “Shag”, celebrated the opening of his latest solo offering “Jungle Drums” over the weekend at Corey Helford’s new massive 12,000 square ft space in Los Angeles. Previously featured on our blog over the years, the artist is well known for his mid-20th century modern architecture and design inspired works that depict candy-colored characters in stylish surroundings. For his exhibition, “Jungle Drums”, influenced in part by Tiki carvings and mythology, Shag translated this art form into his own “Shag style” with new largescale paintings and Tiki god sculptures. He jokes that, at first, “I just wanted to paint women in sexy tiger fur outfits”, and there are plenty of girls in cat suits throughout, but there is a level of sophistication to the way that Shag presents them.
The ‘jungle girls’ lounge in swank mid-century modern homes set against the backdrop of a primordial jungle, smoking and sipping cocktails at elaborate parties where they tame big cats and good-looking men. Their environments, brought to life in an installation by Modernica, are artistic and look expensive with a decor of flaming torches, rattan furniture, flower leis, and brightly colored fabrics. “The paintings of the “Jungle Drums” collection were inspired by a sheet of vintage 1950s “Pinup Girl” decals I’ve had since I was a teenager,” Shag says. “The girls, clad in zebra stripes and leopard spots, lounge placidly amongst tigers and panthers and boa constrictors. Even in the early 1980s when I found the stickers, I realized they were sexist, objectified women, and defied the bounds of political correctness. But they were hot – the combination of beautiful women and savage jungle beasts spoke to the part of me that had evolved from a primate in the forests of central Africa. In the decades since, I’ve seen women reclaim the Pinup Girl aesthetic: strong, tattooed models and independent female photographers have revived and revitalized the genre and turned themselves into pop culture stars.”
Shag’s Jungle Drums” will be on view at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles through February 13th, 2016.
All photos by Mik Luxon.