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 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, partially mnemonic. “I want the paintings to have the feeling of vague recollection, a memory that starts to form but disappears,” Hagler said.
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 our Summer Group Show Looking For U, an exhibition exploring themes of identity and communication in the modern age. His first solo show at Unit London was Chimera which opened in July 2019 at Unit London Mayfair.