Highly variegated and complex, BW Parrot Pattern depicts Jonas Woods well known characteristics of translating the world around him into flat color and line, mystifying the expectations of scale and vantage point. Wood is admired for his depictions of ordinary environments, such as domestic interiors and landscapes, to which he applies an array of formal techniques to create viewpoints that are at odds with the viewer’s expectations. His paintings create a layered methodology where he creates a foundation by one painting appearing time after time, creating a wealth of visual information. He is constantly evolving the ways in which memory reconstructs the past.
Wood has a breadth of art historical knowledge and respect for previous artists’ accomplishments that shows through in his continually evolving oeuvre. Growing up, he was continually exposed to art by his family. “Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Calder, Monet, Vuillard, Bonnard, van Gogh, Stuart Davis, and Hockney have all been very real influences to me. When I was a young child, my family would speak about these artists as examples of greatness in painting. I guess even then I took them seriously because these are the artists I ended up fashioning my studio practice after” (the artist in conversation with Emma-Louise Tovey, “Jonas Wood,” Dossier Journal, 3 April 2012, online). BW Parrots Pattern showcase Wood’s acute attention to patterning and color, recalling the work of Henri Matisse. Both Wood and Matisse carefully delineate the patterning on each respective textile, giving them a sense of verisimilitude. In Interior with Egyptian Curtain, Matisse showcases his brilliance in painterly flatness where the work appears to float on the canvas surface due to the painting’s willful lack of shadowing, indicating no sense of physical grounding. Wood mimics Matisse's style while asserting his stature as one of the masters of contemporary art. Likening Wood’s singular artistic project to Matisse’s, art historian Ken D. Allan states: “In 1908 Henri Matisse explained, ‘The entire arrangement of my picture is expressive...Composition is the art of arranging in a decorative manner the diverse elements at the painter’s disposal to express his feelings.’ Wood’s return to such questions allows us to see that painting’s delivery of visual pleasure has a history—a history that Wood’s work surely continues” (the artist in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, Exh. Cat., Dallas, Dallas Museum of Art, Jonas Wood, 2019, pp. 22-23).
In essence, BW Parrots Pattern is a figurative work that takes form as abstraction, and vice versa. Perhaps surprisingly for an artist who makes extensive use of autobiographical imagery, Wood achieves emotional impact by relying solely on the viewer's eye, and by transforming nostalgia into a network of purely visual relationships. “More than ever his works negotiate an uneasy truce among the abstract, the representational, the photographic and the just plain weird. They achieve this with a dour yet lavish palette, tactile but implacably workmanlike surfaces and a subtly perturbed sense of space in which seemingly flattened planes and shapes undergo shifts in tone and angle that continually declare their constructed, considered, carefully wrought artifice” (Roberta Smith, "Art in Review: Jonas Wood," The New York Times, 18 March 2011, online). Moreover, with its Cubist-like spatial distortion and playful planes of unmodulated color, BW Parrots luxuriates in its admixture of figuration and abstraction, testifying to Wood’s status as the heir to the great artistic masters of the past century.
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