Warholian’s own Birdman was able to stop by the studio of L.A. based artist Josh Agle, better known as “Shag” for an exclusive preview of his highly-anticipated exhibition “Animal Kingdom” at Corey Helford Gallery. Agle has singlehandedly brought back the Mid-Century Modern aesthetic in his art, and shows no signs of slowing down.
The artist’s second solo exhibition with the Corey Helford Gallery was named while painting in his studio during the Kentucky Derby. “I heard that a Thoroughbred named Animal Kingdom had won the Kentucky Derby. Since the painting I was working on had a horse in it, and all the paintings for the exhibit featured animals, it seemed to sum up the body of work I was making.”
Recognized worldwide, Agle’s iconic imagery celebrates commercial art from the 1950s and 1960s and is infused with playful narratives about consumerism and hedonism. “Ironic humor, impending trouble, or unexplained situations are common elements in most of my work,” Agle notes. For “Animal Kingdom,” his new collection of paintings returns to brighter and happier times. “Colors have become more radiant, and the men and women in the paintings seem happier and more satisfied in their hedonistic lifestyles.”
Inspired by vintage animal costumes, Furry fandom and anime characters who dress as animals, all of the paintings in the exhibition feature men and women in animal attire. The concept for the show was inspired by a 1970s sewing pattern for an animal costume. While the body remained the same, the ears and tail for each animal changed, transforming it into a tiger, a bunny, a bear or a mouse. Agle adds, “I’ve noticed a lot of teenagers and hipsters recently wearing hoodies and beanies with animal ears, antlers or horns. Maybe there is a subconscious societal urge to return to our animalistic natures. This is a theme I’ve flirted with in the past, but never this directly.”
Open to the public, the reception for “Animal Kingdom” takes place on Saturday, February 11, and the show will be on view until March 7, 2012.
- photos by Birdman for Warholian