A Californian Looks Southwest
Maxwell Alexander Gallery will host its first solo show by Logan Maxwell Hagege (b. 1980), who has won acclaim for his luminous oil paintings of Southwestern people and scenery. That subject matter could not have been anticipated when this lifelong Angeleno graduated from high school and began a two year, full-time course of study at Associates in Art in nearby Sherman Oaks. There he mastered both life drawing and landscape sketching, complementing his studies with private instruction from the figurative artist Steve Huston and the landscapist Joseph Mendez.
Hagege’s earliest paintings were sparkling, pastel-hued scenes of beaches and city streets, somewhat in the spirit of Joaquin Sorolla. That changed when the young man traveled with other California painters, including Calvin Liang, Mian Situ, and Charles Muench, on a plein air road trip to Arizona’s arid, and starkly beautiful, Canyon de Chelly. “The landscape felt geometric to me,” Hagege recalls, so he began using deftly drawn graphic shapes, Southwestern colors, and strong lights and shadows to depict high-desert mesas and red-rock formations, the resourceful Hopi and Navajo people, and the animals who inhibit this terrain as well as the scudding clouds for which the region is renowned. (He depicts cowboys, too.) This signature style reminds us of the simplified forms perfected by another Californian, Maynard Dixon (1875-1946), and also of later paintings by members of the Taos Society of Artists, like E. Martin Hennings (1886-1956). Even so, there is something about Hagege’s approach that reads as “now” rather than “then.”
Today, when he isn’t exploring the Southwest, Hagege can be found working in his spacious studio in a warehouse int he San Fernando Valley. We look forward to learning where his vision will transport us next.