Culver City, CA
Maxwell Alexander Gallery, April 9-May 7
This story was featured in the April 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art April 2016 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.
Logan Maxwell Hagege says that his solo show, which opens on April 9 at Maxwell Alexander Gallery, is a homecoming of sorts: Titled The West, it’s Hagege’s first official solo show in Los Angeles County. “I grew up here, but I have always sent my paintings to other locations around the country,” he says. “Many friends, family, and collectors who rarely see my work locally will be able to see a cohesive group of paintings in one place, just a short drive from where many of them live.”
At 36, Hagege has already received much recognition for his boldly colorful, minimalist portrayals of cowboys and Native American figures—paintings that offer a unique contemporary vision of traditional western subject matter. His graphic, modernist works are held in prestigious museum collections at the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. So in-demand are his paintings that most of the six to eight pieces in the current show are being sold in a drawing. “This is an opportunity we have today to experience a living master’s artwork fresh off the easel,” says Beau Alexander, gallery owner and director. “The artist’s ability to put together a complicated composition with perfect lighting and value, yet stripped down to the bare minimum, is second to none.”
Hagege first became intrigued with the West when, as a youngster, his family drove across the desert to visit his grandmother. The terrain of the region continues to intrigue him, and today it inhabits many of his works. But his passion also extends to the people and cultures of the West and Southwest and includes everything from the ceremonial objects associated with Native Americans to the accouterments of cowboy life.
Explaining the meaning of his art in great detail is not something Hagege favors; he believes that when viewers are told what to think and feel, it can ruin their experience of interacting with the art. However, he does offer a glimpse into his creative process when he speaks about THIS MOUNTAIN OF MINE, which is on view in the show. For several months, Hagege says, the image for the painting percolated in his mind. “I usually have several ideas floating around in my head, and I will paint a piece when the idea is screaming at me. This was the case with this piece,” he says. “I wanted to paint the stark white against the deep dark blue of the mountain. It is a light effect that I have seen before out in the desert. The landscape was painted from a memory of that light.”
Alexander is excited about the show because, as he points out, paintings of western subject matter are usually “typecast” and shown only in smaller cities such as Scottsdale, Jackson, or Santa Fe. But Los Angeles represents a major art market. “You can’t get any more main stage than L.A.,” he says, “and we are excited to have a group of paintings by Hagege available to some of the major art collectors in the world.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
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