SHAG's new exhibit: Autumn's Come Undone

Smudge Pot
Smudge Pot SHAG

Southern California artist Josh Agle is better known as SHAG. For years, he’s created colorful depictions of cocktail parties, Tiki heads and hotrods.

But recently his art taken a much darker turn. (Audio: Extended version of interview with SHAG.)

SHAG has a new exhibit of artwork at the Corey Helford gallery in Culver City. The collection is called “Autumn’s Come Undone.” The title comes from a Lee Hazlewood song called "My Autumn's Done Come" – a dark tune about getting towards the autumn of one's life.

SHAG says the images in this new collection represent some of the issues he's been dealing with of late. Even though he's achieved great success as an artist, he found he wasn't necessarily content. "Especially for an artist," he says, "I think you turn inward and start thinking about what it is you really want in your life and why the big house and the fancy car and all that isn't really making you happy."

That theme is easy to pick up on in a piece called "Cliff Divers" which shows men in shirts and ties diving into a big gaping hole. Other works in the exhibit depict SHAG's erratic sleep cycle. "I'm not an insomniac," he says, "but what happens is I tend to wake up at 3 or 4 a.m. and I'm finished." Though he isn't able to sleep, he says he's often able to come up with some of his best ideas for paintings in the wee hours of the night.

The giant giclees hanging in his new exhibit feature brilliant hues, curious situations and funny little details. For example, in one piece called "Lone Star," small black birds line a telephone wire. But look closely and you'll notice that in one section, all the birds are hanging upside down.

SHAG doesn't like to talk too much about what each image means. He says it's much for fun for observers to come up with their own conclusions.

The exhibit "Autumn's Come Undone" runs through Dec. 9.

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