The Fiambrera Art Gallery presents “Ava Ava”, the third exhibition of the American artist Josh Agle (Shag), in Spain. The new paintings that make up the exhibition commemorate the fifteen years in which Ava Gardner, “the most beautiful animal in the world”, lived in Spain.
The idea of this exhibition came three years ago, during Shag's visit to Madrid to attend the opening of his solo show "Drinking Spree", when he discovered the legendary anecdotes and adventures of the Hollywood star in his Spanish refuge. We could not imagine then that by the time of the opening of "Ava, Ava" there would even be a television series (Arde Madrid) inspired by her and her crazy Madrid years.
Ava Gardner moved to Madrid in the mid-50s, perhaps fleeing fame and Frank Sinatra, but also attracted to a city where she could finally do what she wanted and felt free. Among the personalities and characters that accompanied her in these frantic years were spies, bullfighters, writers, dancers, actors, exiled generals, painters, singers, and playboys, who when not filming were drinking and partying with locals at venues such as Chicote, Villa Rosa, the German Brewery, Los Gabrieles, Riscal, El Duende or Café Olivier.
For “Ava, Ava” Shag has decided to reduce his world-renowned colour palette and use a minimal spectrum of colours, reflecting, in a way, a society still in black and white, in which according to the artist “Ava shone like a light bulb in the loft ." This constitutes a great change from the artist's usual work, which usually hits the viewer with an explosion of bright colours. The theme of the exhibition is, however, 100% Shag, with this era and everything related to it, being the leitmotif of his practise.
In Shag's own words:
“The paintings in “Ava, Ava” are inspired by the life of actress Ava Gardner in Spain in the late 50s and early 60s, after her breakup with Frank Sinatra. Ava's stellar power and explosive behaviour stood out in Franco's repressive regime, like a lonely bulb in an attic. Almost all of Ava's photos in those years are in black and white, and the paintings in this exhibition want to portray that by making minimal use of colour, which is a certain change within my work. ”
In addition to the new works of Ava, Ava; vignettes of the crazy days of Ava in Madrid made with acrylic paints on paper, La Fiambrera will exhibit about twenty of the most recent serigraphs that the Californian artist has made in the last two years. All the serigraphs shown are artist's proofs, copies from Shag's personal archive, numbered and signed by him.
Shag's work is distinguished by a unique style that, based on the illustration and American graphics of the mid-twentieth century, recreates scenes tinged with irony and mischievous humour more characteristic of our time. In his enigmatic style the artist puts himself in the viewpoint of a distant spectator, to which what really matters is the story that is interpreted behind the images, which he does not explain, and his mysterious and disturbing narrative.
His paintings, of kitsch appearance, clear lines and bright colours, celebrate consumerism and the 'good life'; his characters drink, smoke, and eat in stylish and sophisticated settings, in the homes of William Krisel, Richard Neutra or John Lautner, furnished by the Eames, Eero Saarinen, Arne Jacobsen and George Nelson.
Behind Shag hides the American artist Josh Agle, born in California in 1962. His artistic name is formed by the last two letters of his first name and the first two of his last name. Shag, who began as a cult favourite after his first exhibition at the influential gallery La Luz de Jesus in 1998, has become a successful artist who collects famous Hollywood stars, and exhibits in the best galleries in New York, Los Angeles, or Sydney.