Shag (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.

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