Private collection, USA
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
Over the past ten years, Wood has developed an entirely singular aesthetic. Drawing upon a vast archive of photographic sources, which have been either taken by the artist or scoured from the internet, the artist reinterprets banal scenes anew. In Wood’s hands, domestic interiors and televised sportsmen are translated onto the flatness of the canvas surface with his distinctively naïve form of abstraction. Speaking of his inspiration to paint such personal spaces, in particular the private space of his own studio, Wood expands: “you could call it a visual diary or even a personal history. I’m not going to paint something that doesn’t have anything to do with me. Of all the possible things I could paint, the thing that interests me is something that I can get close enough to paint it honestly. The painters whose work means the most to me – that’s what they were painting. It was their love to me. Why did van Gogh pick that landscape? It’s because it was the perfect landscape” (Jonas Wood in conversation with Ana Vejzovic in: Exhibition Catalogue, New York, Anton Kern Gallery, (and travelling), Jonas Wood: Interiors, 2011, p. 56). Indeed, just as the sundrenched, ‘perfect’ fields of Arles and his rickety, small bedroom inspired Vincent van Gogh, the intimate space of his own studio provided Wood with the ‘perfect’ way to marry the central facets of his art.
In a manner that’s is overwhelmingly reminiscent of David Hockney’s large collages and paintings – not only in terms of facture but also regarding Hockney’s interest in painting his own studio, his saturation of colour and his distortion of perspective – Wood takes photographs of his subjects from a variety of angles, cutting and pasting them into endlessly fractured, flat studies, which are further refined and perfected through drawings and etchings. Describing the impetus to work within the confines of ‘flatness’ Wood explains: “I chose to paint in this flat way because it suits me to simplify things. Even when I use shadow its flat – abstracted. There is depth, but its achieved in the simplest way. Shapes accumulate, and where they meet there is some sort of imperfection. I like the idea of the paint taking over more; maybe that’s the next level of defining these spaces differently. I’ve become so anal, whereas I used to be freer with the materials. The materiality needs to come back into the work. It’s about when it’s honest to have the paint accumulate, and that’s a painterly question" (Ibid., p. 56). Endlessly engaging and perpetually revealing, Studio Hallway offers a fascinating insight into the space that Wood physically inhabits – as though a mirror held up to the artist himself – and the very mechanisms and inspirations that drive his dynamic oeuvre.
Rising to critical acclaim in recent years with solo exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and Anton Kern Gallery, New York (where the present work was shown), Wood’s work is included in seminal international collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
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