After participating in the exhibition for the tenth anniversary of Jonathan LeVine Gallery this year, Josh Agle aka Shag will be presenting his new art series All My Bones. Josh Agle’s works can be described through the visual language of the Californian underground art movement Lowbrow, or as some refer to it as pop surrealism. The messages that could be read from the artworks of the Lowbrow movement are lavished with humor, either devilish or gleeful, and very often with a sarcastic remark.
The name of the exhibition is a quotation from the Old Testament’s Psalm 22:17 verse: I can count all my bones – they stare and gloat over me. The narrative of the paintings is truly inspired by the Old Testament stories. Josh Agle Shag recalls: ''What seemed like straightforward morality plays told in simple language and pictures meant for children turned out to be complex, grotesque and ethically confusing stories when I read them in the Bible as I got older.'' What is different for the exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery is that the Biblical characters are swapped with the more familiar characters and put in the 1960’s style scenography. We are embraced in the playful environment, full of wealth, youth, fame and glut. What caught our attention are, not so hidden, messages referring to the Old Testament – the Original sin, placed in the living room; The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with a guy in front taking a selfie; a party in the fantastic setting with at least a couple out of The seven deadly sins. All my bones is a story about the consumerism of the modern world and the consumption of the inner being with the apathetic characters swimming in the hedonism without any joy.
Concluded with dramatic colors and plump shapes, everything resembles to the slick and kitsch advertising illustrations of the 1960’s. Josh Agle’s leaves us to rethink about the visual language of the mid-century found almost everywhere – from Bossa Nova album covers to Disney animation. Through different color palettes, he is exemplifying simultaneously the personalities of the depicted characters and within the imposed scenography. Reminiscence on the retro cool pop aesthetic leaves him somewhere in-between the Lowbrow and pop surrealism, and the commercial aspect is derived by presence in the forefront of contemporary art, creating a dialogue which is led on the canvases at Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
This will be the fifth Josh Agle’s solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, where they will try to push artworks inspired by comic books, pop aesthetics, graffiti art, closer to the boundaries of contemporary art. Works of Josh Agle Shag can already be found in several museums all over the world.
Still, if you want to see more of his works, don’t forget that the opening of the exhibition is on May 14 at 6pm. If you somehow miss the opening, be sure to check Shag's work by June 13, 2015 when the exhibition will be closed. Jonathan LeVine Gallery is located at 557c West 23rd Street in New York.
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All images are courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
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