Autumn’s Come Undone

Autumn group

Shag’s portrayal of hedonistic consumerism and consumption has been sharply transformed to a surreal and unexpected new level, where geisha girls play guitars in oversized bird cages, and vintage hot air balloons float over dream-like dimensional plains, reminiscent of the late 19th century Industrial Age ala Salvador Dali.

In Autumn’s Come Undone, Josh Agle’s’ 43rd solo exhibition and his 12th in Los Angeles, Agle introduces a monumental series of digital works on canvas, revealing some of his darkest and most personal works to date. The exhibit features 16 original 54×72 inch giclee on canvas panels, which are displayed in four diptych and two triptych expansive scenes. There are also 22 original paintings highlighting detailed elements from within the larger works.

4_5_triptych

Shag has had recent success at various museum exhibits where he unveiled his digital imagery of his large giclee on canvas triptych, The Garden of Earthly Delights, his unique take on Hieronymus Bosch’s original triptych painting from 1504. The embrace of this work by museums and the art community spurred Agle to continue the expansive medium. In Autumn’s Come Undone, Shag has abandoned much of his familiar imagery to explore more personal themes, with darker subject matter and colors, replacing the sunny disposition of his past paintings. “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.

The large diptychs and triptychs are busily surreal, and much more vast than anything Shag has unveiled in the past. If one were to imagine a psychiatric hospital from the late 19th century, with dreamscape grounds stretching to all horizons, and patients dressed in their Sunday best, or nothing at all, it may just begin to help one visualize the Max Ernst-like works. Add whales suspended by vintage hot air balloons, being dragged across the desert, or surfacing in an industrial river, and throw in a carefree wooden rollercoaster with a good dose of industrial smog, you have something quite different than anything we’ve seen before by Shag. Yet somehow, with the brilliant use of color, the constant element of surprise, and the mysterious unfolding story, all laid out in crisp mid-century illustration style, you still have a work of art unmistakably Shag. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll find some reoccurring elements in some of the large panels. The Onocentaurs (half man, half donkey) in Fitful Troubled is also in Nick Bottom from 2007’s Merchant of Menace exhibit. The black bull found in the pond of Twelve Stops is the same as in Shag’s El Banderillero.

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Autumn’s Come Undone, with its dark and surreal imagery, is in some ways the most refreshing exhibition from Shag in a decade. It marks a significant change to a long history spanning more than a decade of tikis, mid-century interiors and smoking and drinking hedonists. The importance of Undone is documented in a long-awaited book release of the same name due out in Dec. 2009. For collectors, Shag has released a very limited edition of just 100 copies of the book, which he has personalized with a unique 4×5 inch hand painted water color that’s signed and titled. Additionally, there is a limited edition serigraph included with the book, also signed and numbered and limited to just 100 prints.

One Response to “Autumn’s Come Undone”

  1. pjk Says:

    Fantastic. Can’t wait to see this in person.

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