In his boldly colored graphic works, Jonas Wood combines art historical references with images of the objects, interiors, and people that comprise the fabric of his daily life. Translating the three-dimensional world around him into pure color and line, he confounds expectations of scale and vantage point, causing the flat picture plane to bristle with an abstract charge.
Wood composes his artwork through a process of layering and collaging, using photography, projection, drawing, and then painting.
Sources are translated and mixed into generations, which then become the basis for the large-scale paintings. The “seams” are dissolved in the final work, even if the impression of an assemblage remains palpable.
Images of Wood’s family members and domestic surroundings recur in his paintings, revealing the importance of familial dynamics in shaping time, space, and identity.
For example, Young Architect (2019) is based on a photograph from the mid-sixties in which Wood’s father stands on a construction site where timber beams cross over each other, their grain echoing the forms made by the living trees visible behind.
Wood’s technical mastery of patterning and compositional structure is particularly evident in his depictions of pots and ceramic vessels, which, devoid of depth and shading, sit in stark contrast to gray tonal backgrounds.
Turned into planar spaces for imagery, each pot becomes a painting within a painting. Several of the depicted vessels draw from the work of Henri Matisse. While early examples of Matisse appropriations have previously appeared in collaborative exhibitions with Shio Kusaka (Wood’s wife) at Gagosian Hong Kong (2015), and at Museum Voorlinden, Netherlands (2017–18), this exhibition introduces the largest group to date.
Wood also represents vessels and imagery by contemporary ceramists, including Michael Frimkess and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess. In M.S.F. Fish Pot #7 (2016), a hollowware pot decorated with fish and marine flora is rendered as a flat, round plane. Lacking a single focal point, the shapes form a familiar yet chaotic jumble, turned, in typical Wood style, into an organized system of color and plane.
Each painting in the exhibition is accompanied by a corresponding small-scale work on paper, emphasizing Wood’s mastery of kaleidoscopic shifts, while reiterating visual and referential relationships across discrete bodies of work.
All images courtesy Gagosian Gallery.
24 April through 19 July