The New York Times recently reviewed the paintings of Jonas Wood ’99, a Los Angeles-based contemporary artist, whose work was exhibited this month at the Anton Kern Gallery in New York.
“Jonas Wood’s painting continues to mature impressively, gaining pictorial and psychological weight. More than ever his works negotiate an uneasy truce among the abstract, the representational, the photographic and the just plain weird,” wrote the reviewer, Roberta Smith.
Wood is represented in New York by Anton Kern Gallery. He lives and works in Los Angeles. Wood graduated from Hobart with a bachelor of arts in psychology and a minor in studio art. While attending Hobart, he participated in the abroad program in Bath, England. He earned a MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Washington in 2002. His work has been the subject of one-person exhibitions at Patrick De Brock Gallery, Knokke, Belgium; La Montagne Gallery, Boston; Hammer Projects, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; MinMin Gallery, Tokyo; Shane Campbell Gallery, IL; Anton Kern Gallery, NY; and Black Dragon Society, LA.
His work has been included in thematic exhibitions. Last year, these included “The Fifth Genre: Considering the Contemporary Still Life,” Galerie Lelong; “Mixed Signals: The Artists Consider Masculinity in Sports,” Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; “Newtonland: Orbits, Ellipses and other Places of Activity,” White Flag Projects, St. Louis; and “Not Extractions, but Abstractions,” Kama International, Zurich Switzerland; “The Road to Here,” John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, Calif.
The full review from the New York Times follows.
New York Times
Art in Review
Paintings by Jonas Wood
Roberta Smith • March 17, 2011
Anton Kern Gallery
532 West 20th Street
Through March 26
Jonas Wood’s painting continues to mature impressively, gaining pictorial and psychological weight. 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.
A case in point is “Sun Porch” and the several browns that denote the spindled back of an armchair at its center, although it takes the eyes a while to notice, given the room’s crowded topography of furniture, embroidered textiles and, overhead, the beamed ceiling.
Mr. Wood paints the artist’s life that happens to be his own. In its broadest outlines the subject has not changed all that much from, say, Vuillard and Matisse to Alex Katz and David Hockney. In Mr. Wood’s case it includes the hallway leading to his studio, a stack of birdcages stored in a corner somewhere (occasioning a riotous extravagance of parallel lines) and a large cluster of incised ceramic vessels, suffused in a weirdly palpable gray light, by the artist Shio Kusaka, to whom Mr. Wood is married.
The show’s most ambitious work is “The Hypnotist,” which turns out to depict Mr. Wood sitting stoically in the office of a man whose oddly set expression seems to hold the entire, tilting room in check.
Each painting here presents a highly personal but impersonally observed reality that has been astutely cobbled together but is almost too much to take in. It is presented whole, but with all the seams showing for easy disassembly. That’s enough to make one of painting’s most frequent subjects – the artist’s life – seem new again.
A version of this review appeared in print on March 18, 2011, on page C31 of the New York edition.