The COREY HELFORD GALLERY is gearing up for the second exhibition at their new 12,000 square foot space on Anderson Street in downtown Los Angeles. Southern California painter, illustrator and designer Josh Agle aka SHAG will debut his JUNGLE DRUMS collection Saturday, January 16 in the main gallery of CHG‘s cavernous urban industrial canopy.
“The paintings of the ‘Jungle Drums’ collection were inspired by a sheet of vintage 1950s ‘Pinup Girl’ decals I’ve had since I was a teenager,” Shag explains. “The girls, clad in zebra stripes and leopard spots, lounge placidly amongst tigers and panthers and boa constrictors. Even in the early 1980s when I found the stickers, I realized they were sexist, objectified women, and defied the bounds of political correctness. But they were hot-the combination of beautiful women and savage jungle beasts spoke to the part of me that had evolved from a primate in the forests of central Africa. In the decades since, I’ve seen women reclaim the Pinup Girl aesthetic: strong, tattooed models and independent female photographers have revived and revitalized the genre and turned themselves into pop culture stars.”
Shag continues, “In ‘Jungle Drums,’ the women are always in control. They exist in small patches of civilization carved into the wild undergrowth of the primordial jungle. They have tamed their environments, tamed their exotic pets, and tamed the men in their lives. I’m sure it’s a metaphor for something. But I just wanted to paint women in sexy tiger fur outfits.”
Influential New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith, has called Shag‘s 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 has led to his work being featured in museums such as the Laguna Art Museum in California, The Andy Warhol museum in Pennsylvania and the Naples Museum of Contemporary Art in Italy. Shag’s distinctive imagery can be found on merchandise and products worldwide. He has created work for Coca Cola, MGM’s Pink Panther, Paul Frank Industries, and Playboy. In 2005, he was chosen to be the official artist for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary.
Concurrently with the Shag exhibit, two additional collections in Gallery 2 and Gallery 3 will also open January 16 and run through February 13.
“Asymmetrical Diptych Party”
A diptych is two separate pieces which work together as one complete work of art. In CHG’s upcoming group show, over twenty artists explore the relationship between those pieces spatially by creating all new asymmetrical diptychs. The lack of balance in art is as important as discordant sound in music, and the effect of these new two-piece works is both unsettling and yet extremely satisfying as the whole is greater than the parts.
Hikari Shimoda “Recycling Humanity”
This marks Japanese artist Hikari Shimoda‘s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Cheery, bright, colorful, magical, melancholy, and even dark, Hikari Shimoda’s portraits of starry-eyed children carry a different meaning for anyone who looks at them. The sparkling and sweet demeanor of her young subjects is at once enchanting and disarming, full of possibilities as they seemingly stare into space while reflecting light and darkness. Born and currently based in Nagano, Japan, but raised on Japanese animation comics, Hikari Shimoda herself is not unlike her characters, living on the edge between a world deeply rooted in its beliefs and traditions and an exciting, however uncertain, future. “Recycling Humanity” continues Shimoda’s theme about the balance between past and future, life and death, the world we live in, and the world yet to be reborn.
The new CHG Downtown Los Angeles space became North America’s epicenter for the arts when they debuted their new space this past December with Ron English’s exhibition NeoNature: We Are the New They (click here for additional details).
With a variety of exhibitions lining up for the year ahead, the COREY HELFORD GALLERY has ignited a new era for the arts in Downtown Los Angeles.
COREY HELFORD GALLERY
571 South Anderson Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033