Jungle Drums Exhibition
The Jungle Drums exhibition from January 16th to February 13th 2016 at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles, California was one of Josh Agle’s most creative and impressive to date. The cavernous new warehouse space used for the exhibition was a bright and spacious 12,000 square feet and allowed Shag to present on a large canvas.
The Jungle Drums exhibition was well advertised online (see examples below), with promotional postcards, and in local magazines.
The first three hundred guests at the opening received a free silkscreen mini-print named Le Purr. The two-colour black and purple print is 7” by 5” in size and features a lady wearing a cat mask and a zebra leotard, holding a cocktail, sitting next to a cat. The print is hand signed by Shag and dated 2016.Josh Agle took his inspiration for the Jungle Drums exhibition from a sheet of vintage decals showing pinup girls with wild animals which he has owned since his late teens.
In the world of Jungle Drums, the women are always in control, whether cavorting with wild animals near tiki masks or lounging with their downtrodden partners in modern apartments. As always with Shag’s work, we enter in the middle of the story and must guess the rest. Consider Shag’s words whilst you seek deeper understanding of the symbolism and metaphors – “I just wanted to paint women in sexy tiger fur outfits”.
In a CHG interview, Shag said of the exhibition “Ever since humans tried to civilize themselves, they’re tried to connect with the past as well. The past being the jungle, the beginning. But they do this in an artificial fashion, they pump up the artificial level. I work with these themes, the jungle origin, consumerism, consumption”. “And everything in this stylized version of our primitive past is artificial. I use nothing natural, every material used in these pieces is artificial, there are no natural fibres. On the masks, the hair is extruded plastic rubber polymer.” Shag created six large spirit masks for the exhibition. The masks were intentionally 100% artificial and were manufactured from laser-cut gator board with extruded plastic rubber polymer hair, hand-painted by Shag. The masks sold for $2,500 USD each and were approximately 70” high.
Shag painted six new pictures, each containing a pinup girl, wild animal, and tiki mask. All six had vivid, saturated colours and sold quickly for $6,000 USD each.
To help fill the high-room, Shag designed five large tiki sculptures. These towering spirit totems were made from laser-cut gator board and are hand-painted by Shag. The spirit totems sold for $2,500 USD each and were approximately 87” high.
The first large new painting at the Jungle Drums exhibition is Bunny and the Beasts. This large (72” x 30”) acrylic on canvas sold for a mere $30,000 USD. This fantasy of a 1950’s pin-up studio photo shoot includes American photographer and pin-up model “Bunny” Yeager and queen of pin-ups Bettie Page. Note that the painting was reproduced as a fifteen-colour hand-pulled serigraph in September 2017
The second large new painting at the Jungle Drums exhibition was Primal Cuts. The huge (108” x 35”) acrylic on canvas is still for sale on the CHG site for $50,000 USD. The cocktail party attended by the feline garbed women and brown jacketed men seems serene until you realise that the brown jackets have butchery joints drawn upon them. The catsuited ladies are also all staring hungrily at the man in the bottom right of the picture…
The print of Primal Cuts was launched at Shag the Store in Palm Springs on Saturday 13th February, the last day of the Jungle Drums exhibition. This fifteen-colour hand-pulled serigraph screen print is Shag’s widest print to date at 61” x 24”. It was released in a limited edition of 200 prints, each hand numbered and signed by Shag, at a cost of $825 USD. Martini and Coco entertained the long line of guests arriving at the release party (below).To fill the new gallery space at CHG and present more 1950’s mid-modern style, Modernica Props displayed a model living room.A composite digital image was commercially screen printed onto a large-format vinyl sheet to act as a divider and impressive entrance to the Jungle Drums exhibition. Although created for decoration and not for sale this oversized sheet created a popular photo opportunity for visitors.Thank you for reading this blog post and looking at the great images from the Jungle Drums exhibition. It would be great to hear from you in the comments section below or by e-mail. Please let me know what you think of the site and what content you would like to see. And to finish, a few more photographs from the exhibition.