Shag’s third solo exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York was held from the 11th December 2010 to the 8th January 2011. The exhibition, titled Ambergris, included fourteen new paintings, three digital prints, and three giclée prints – mainly on a whaling theme.
After taking surfing back up again in 2010 and dreaming of whales trying to kill him, Josh Agle read Herman Melville’s books Moby Dick and Billy Budd and Other Stories. This interest evolved into the nautical themes, specifically whaling encompassed by this exhibition. The exhibition is named Ambergris which is a dull-grey or black waxy substance secreted by the bile duct in the intestines of around one percent of sperm whales. It is rare, flammable, highly valued by perfume makers, and very valuable. A 1.1 kilogram lump of ambergris found in Wales, UK in 2015 was sold for £11,000.
The main series of paintings in the Ambergris exhibition each contain a whale (or in a single case, a large fish). The whales all feature low-brow pinstriping, emulating more traditional scrimshaw. Mid-modern furniture appears incongruously alongside 19th-century ships, tattoos, and tiki. The paintings are acrylic on panel, with the first three being large-format and the next five being smaller.
The next series of three smaller paintings are based on the bad women of the bible, each have great stories but to crudely summarise:
- Jezebel – arranged the murder of Naboth
- Salome – who caused the death of John the Baptist
- Delilah – the betrayer of Samson
There are also three terrific acrylic on panel paintings of Tikis alongside attractive native girls using high-tech devices (Apple iPod, kitchen blender, and a computer laptop).
A set of three huge digital prints on canvas, each measuring 72″ wide by 36″ tall show a more complex side of Josh Agle’s art. They all have deep meaning, presumably, so please let me know if you understand them and how they fit together into a story. The three were hung together in an impressive long eighteen foot long display, see gallery photo at the base of the page.
The final three giclée prints were available individually, in limited editions of 25.
The show postcard is of the Sea Shanties picture shown below, also shown below is Josh Agle signing postcards.
The following nine photographs are of the Ambergris gallery installation and exhibition opening. Note that the majority of the images from this post are sourced from the Jonathan LeVine Gallery website.