Jonas Wood, ‘Untitled (Gray Dots)’, 2010, Phillips

From the Catalogue:
Untitled (Grey Dots), Jonas Wood’s simplified still life painting from 2010 depicts and objectifies his favoured subject matter, the plant. Muted tones are paired with dynamic shapes to present an image in flux, caught between the movement of leaves and the weight of the plant pot. Inviting the viewer into his chosen space, Wood instils the work with a mirage of memory. Intensifying, whilst simultaneously reducing, a quotidian scene, the stylised composition presents the onlooker with Wood’s theatrical extremes of scale.

Geometrically arranged silhouettes appear to float in time and space, devoid of context and perspective, the artist consciously bestrides modernist abstraction and figuration. The simplified composition of compressed forms invokes Alexander Calder’s abstractly geometric and dynamic mobiles. Commenting on the artist’s influence and practice, Wood notes: ‘Calder would cut a shape out of metal, paint it bright yellow, attach it to a long stick, and hang it from the ceiling. These New Plant paintings are exploring shape and repetition in that same way – through suspension in space’ (Jonas Wood, quoted in Hammer Projects: Jonas Wood, exh. cat., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2010, p. 7). Referencing the tonality rather than the subject matter, through the works given title, Untitled (Grey Dots), the artist emphasises the importance of shape and colour over his preferred horticultural subject matter.

Like his artistic forbearers, the likes of David Hockney and Henri Matisse, Wood’s opus is committed to representing his surroundings, in particular familiar domestic spaces. Like Hockney and Matisse before him Wood adopts an overtly flattened perspective. In the present composition his conscious choice of bold shapes emphasises the illusion of distorted space. Presenting an ostensibly flat plane, proportions and perspective become secondary to the illusionary and carefully composed work. Through his abstract interpretation of the familiar subject matter, the artist uncompromisingly permits the composition to evoke nostalgia, transporting the viewer into the tranquil landscape of interior scenery.
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated 'JBRW 2010 "Untitled (Gray Dots)" JBRW 2010' on the reverse

Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2010

About Jonas Wood

In his paintings, drawings, and prints, Jonas Wood merges references to art history, his memories, and visions of the people, objects, and settings that compose the fabric of his life. Working in acrylic and oil on supports including cardboard and canvas, he presents portraits of his friends and family, interior scenes, and still lifes. Through his partially abstract rendering of these subjects and use of bright colors, he emphasizes patterns and forms while flattening out the space in his compositions. Ceramic vessels and potted plants figure prominently in his works. In some, he covers the outside of a plant’s pot with an intricately realized landscape, which reads as a painting within a painting. Working with an eye toward his predecessors, Wood cites Lucian Freud, David Hockney, and Alex Katz as influences, claiming, “All three of them are superheroes.”

American, b. 1977, Boston, MA, United States, based in Los Angeles, CA, United States