Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Pink Elephants: New Paintings by SHAG

This is an exhibition you will not want to miss —SHAG (Josh Agle) returns to Corey Helford Gallery (8522 Washington Boulevard, Culver City) on Saturday, November 23rd 7-10pm.  Refreshments will be served. The Mid-Century master has created a show of all new works entitled, “Pink Elephants” and it is fun, subversive and one of his best to date!! The opening reception for “Pink Elephants” takes place Saturday, November 23rd from 7-10pm at Corey Helford Gallery. The reception is open to the public, and the exhibition will be on view through January 11th 2014.

"Seek Help",  15" x 22", acrylic on panel

“Seek Help”, 15″ x 22″, acrylic on panel

The term “Pink Elephant” was coined by Jack London in 1913 to describe visions and hallucinations brought on by excessive alcohol consumption. Josh Agle’s (aka Shag) work has always celebrated and advocated the drinking of cocktails and liquor, and his own lifestyle reflected the paintings he created. Agle explains, “I used alcohol as an aid to create art and as a means to escape the expanding responsibilities of a successful art career. I pursued the variations and varieties of drink like the most dedicated stamp collector or fisherman might devote himself to his hobby. Because I was a well-known artist well known for the glorification of cocktails, I drank for free in many bars and restaurants. Painting became something I did between binges.The benders expanded. At some point, the end of one bout of drinking met the beginning of the next. I stopped drinking the day I realized I hadn’t lifted a paint brush in a week. I put my hobby on hold, cut myself off, yelled “last call,” and haven’t had a drop in months. I’m not declaring I’ll never drink again – I cherish my rum too much. But I will give it a long vacation. I do miss it, like one misses a close friend who’s moved to London. In the meantime, I can make paintings about drinking – paintings that embellish, rebuke, condemn, and extol it”. Shag’s current exhibition “Pink Elephants” is a collection of those paintings.

"Girl with Magnum", 10" x 14", acrylic on panel

“Girl with Magnum”, 10″ x 14″, acrylic on panel

Josh Agle

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 where 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.

"Her Lucky Charms", 16" x 23", acrylic on panel

“Her Lucky Charms”, 16″ x 23″, acrylic on panel

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


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