- Jonas Wood
- Rosy's Masks
- signed, titled and dated 2008 on the reverse
- oil on linen
- 258.1 by 190.5cm.; 101 1/2 by 75in.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner
London, Saatchi Gallery, Abstract America Today: New Painting and Sculpture, 2009-10
Dan Nadel, Ed., Jonas Wood: Interiors, New York 2012, p. 3, illustrated in colour
Scattered amongst the turbulent sea of patterns, float the personal ephemera belonging to the artist’s grandfather Rosy who, himself an artist and a collector of several significant artists such as Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Alexander Calder, undoubtedly had a major impact on Wood. Rosy and his home have appeared in some of Wood’s most vibrant works such as Untitled (Rosy), which serve as testament to the artist’s creative demeanour: “Of all the possible things I could paint, the thing that interests me is some-thing that I can get close enough to in order to paint honestly. The painters whose work means the most to me – that’s what they were painting. It was their loved ones or the stuff that was in their house. It was always this hyperpersonal thing to me” (Ibid.). The present work therefore acts as single leaf within a wider personal diary of images that the artist has been meticulously crafting for little over a decade. By depicting those banal things which he privately holds with such high esteem, Wood transforms the traditions of still life, portraiture, and of course interior paintings into a chaotic world of pulsating colour, nostalgia and unbridled joy.
Wood works almost entirely from photographs, often using collage as an initial study for a work, which accounts for some of the unruly edges and obscure perspectives found in his oeuvre; however as the artist states “the few things I changed make the painting completely different from the photograph” (Ibid., p. 58). Indeed it is his exaggeration of colours, mastery of pattern, negation of definite form, choice of viewpoint, boldness of shape, and honesty of expression which truly bring these works alive.
Wood has been influenced by numerous Modernist painters and parallels can easily be drawn with the work of David Hockney, Henri Rousseau and Van Gogh to name but a few, and the present work holds a particular resonance with the visual freedom expressed by the paintings of Henri Matisse whose The Family of the Artist from 1911 embellishes the use of pattern and personal subject matter in order to form a compelling visual apparatus. But by responding to the world he finds himself in, Wood’s paintings stop short of Modernist emulation, appearing instead to reverberate with an utterly fresh and unmistakably contemporary aesthetic. The pixilated, computer-game drawer handles, the soft buzz of the television screen and the conspicuously photographic perspective in the present work all combine to form a subject and aesthetic that appear familiar, relevant and compelling to both the artist and viewer.