August 10, 2007
June 28, 2007—For his first solo exhibition in New York, the young Los Angeles-based artist Jonas Wood has put together a group of paintings and watercolor drawings that complement each other thematically and formally. The subjects are nearly classical, flower still-lifes, interiors, portraits, figures, with a slight twist (both thematically and compositionally) e.g. by including images of star athletes.
The artist works from life, from photo collages, and sometimes, as in the case of the basketball players, from media sources. Preparatory sketches and collages build the basis for the drawingsʼ and paintingsʼ compositions and spatial lay-outs. At this point in the process, Wood invents the perspectival tilt and distorted viewpoint that so clearly define his works.
The blocky flatness of the paintings, their tilted perspective, the compositional autonomy of color, line and shape point at Woodʼs interest in concepts of time and the legibility of nature. What these works bring to mind historically, such as the intense otherness of early American itinerant portrait paintings, or the flat intricacies of Stuart Davisʼ American-Cubist paintings, or the spatial and colorist play of David Hockney, and even the psychological acumen and emotional intensity of Alice Neel, they supercede in a present-day-ness and contemporary thrill and pleasure.