Joshua Hagler’s vast oil paintings call for a reappraisal of perceived wisdom regarding everything from Christian mysticism and cultural identity to prophecy and philosophy. Hagler embarks on a semiotic quest: to dig down and uncover a substrate layer of society, to invert the cliched insignia that we are wont to attach to modern phenomena.
Hagler’s work interacts with a broad spectrum of subjects, including his own middle American upbringing, the 19th century exploration of North America, modern science fiction and the traditions of Italian religious art. Through his visual work, Hagler confronts ideas of extreme religious experience and notions of wider cultural and social identities. To tackle these extensive concepts, Hagler produces sweeping canvases. His scenes are often distorted by gestural smears of fluid brushwork that enter into realms of abstraction. Hagler has commented that these abstract forms should appear to the viewer as manifestations of unformed recollections, reflecting the ephemeral process of memory. “I want the paintings to have the feeling of vague recollection, a memory that starts to form but disappears,” Hagler said.
Josh Hagler - In the Studio
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Joshua Hagler is a multidisciplinary artist based in New Mexico. He is known for his psychologically charged paintings, which explore philosophical questions of cultural and religious identities. Since 2006, Hagler has exhibited his multi-media work widely in both group and solo shows in galleries and museums across North and South America, Europe and Australia. In 2017, Hagler was awarded a place on Maryland Institute of the Arts’ Alfred and Trafford Klots International Program for Artists. He subsequently undertook a year-long Roswell Artist in Residence Program in New Mexico. In 2018, his work was selected for two museum exhibitions at the Brand Library and Art Centre in Los Angeles and the Roswell Museum and Art Centre. Most recently, after taking part in a successful group show with Unit London in 2018, Hagler presented his first solo exhibition with Unit London, Chimera, in 2019. Hagler is a 2020 Hopper Prize finalist and his work also formed Unit London’s inaugural online Platform exhibition. Most recently, Hagler presented his solo exhibition, Drawing in the Dark, with Cris Worley Fine Arts in Dallas.