Unit London will present a new solo exhibition by American contemporary artist, Joshua Hagler, who is known for his large-scale oil paintings depicting chaotic arrangements of human figures, often psychologically charged and in varying states of tension and conflict. The title of the exhibition, Chimera, originates from Greek mythology and describes a beast with the head of a lion, body of a goat, and the tail of a serpent – in everyday language, it's come to mean something which is hoped for, but is impossible to achieve. The word encapsulates the subject matter of Hagler’s ethereal painterly works, which convey haunting hints offiguration. Hagler describes his process as obtaining to paint what he recognises, despite the composition evading easy definition, ultimately conveying a sense of the unobtainable.
In his works, Hagler interrogates his own middle American upbringing, the 19th-century exploration of North America, modern science fiction and the techniques and traditions of Italian religious art. He responds with grand paintings which represent an excavation of time – layers of semi-realistic figures and historic scenes are distorted by marks, smears, cuts and puddles which render the images partially abstract, and allude to memory.
Hagler comments, “I want the paintings to have the feeling of vague recollection, a memory that starts to form but disappears”.
Joshua Hagler was born in Mountain Town, Idaho in 1979 and spent his formative years living between rural Illinois and Arizona. Hagler graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of Arizona in Tucson in 2002 and currently works and resides alongside his partner Maja Ruznic, a fellow contemporary painter, in Los Angeles, California. Since 2006, Hagler has exhibited at both group and solo shows in galleries and museums across North and South America, Europe, and Australia. In the summer of 2017, he was awarded a place on MICA’s Alfred and Trafford Klots Program for Artists in Brittany, France and undertook a year-long Roswell Artist in Residence Program in New Mexico. His project proposal for a large-scale installation and exhibition was chosen by the Brand Library and Art Center in Los Angeles was debuted in the summer of 2018.
Hagler was one of the featured artists in Unit London’s 2018 group show ‘Looking For U’, an exhibition which explored themes of identity and communication in the modern age.
Instagram: @theunitlondon, @haglerjosh