Still Life (with cocktails)

In conjunction with the 2011 Palm Springs Modernism Week, Shag presents Still Life with Cocktails, his fourth solo exhibit at M Modern Gallery, and his first in nearly four years to exclusively feature India ink on paper drawings.

The cocktail culture-themed exhibit is also the first devoted exclusively to still life. Twenty originals were created in all, each with one unique color, featuring a still life of a decanter, bottle, sculpture or tiki mug. Polynesian drinks, tiki mugs and spilled martinis are elements so often ingrained within Shag paintings, and it’s these mid-century cultural reflections that appeal to so many Shag fans.

Shag’s use of just one color is quite deliberate.  The paint is laid down on white paper, and then the work is brought to life and defined by the use of black India ink. Shag takes full advantage of the negative space on the paper, which utilizes the white as an additional color, giving the overall composition a pristine, clean look. The white label on the black rum bottle in Still Life with Pineapple, is a perfect example of a painting seeming to have more than one color.

While nearly all Shag paintings are set in the middle of an event or story, there have been a few rare examples of still life paintings before.

One of Shag’s earliest still life works is Still Life with Blowfish from 1997 (shown above). In 2003, Shag painted Rum for his A to Z exhibit. Then in 2007, his Conspicuous Consumption exhibit featured 101 small paintings, several of which included still life works of tiki mugs.

To see more acrylic and India ink on paper drawings,  you can read a full review on Four Hands: The Drawings of Shag here.

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