Vivid Still Lifes: Jonas Wood

Jonas Wood is a Los Angeles-based painter and printmaker working across a variety of approaches and publishing formats. In his paintings, drawings, and prints,  Wood combines tributes to Art History, with his own individual memories, visions, objects, and settings that surround him and help shape his life. Employing both oil and acrylic paint, Wood paints still life, family, and domestic scenes onto canvases and cardboard. His energetic, vivid and layered compositions relate to works by David Hockney and Henri Matisse, in that they abstractly explore the beauty in everyday domestic scenes and objects. Wood focuses on a range of visual themes such as museum interiors to tennis courts and logos, in addition to ceramics that are often based on the work of his wife, the sculptor Shio Kusaka. 

Wood utilizes scenes from his own life, turning them into abstract, remote and detached pieces of art that appear to focus on the impact of the human inhabitance within a space rather than focusing on the space itself.  Wood works from photographs, sketches, and etchings, modifying an image through many different and contrasting mediums before completing the artwork.   “The way that I find work or start work is I take a picture, I find a picture, I manipulate a picture. I take photos and put them together,Wood said. Research and gathering material is crucial in the creation of his artworks, stating that he “gather(s) images and gather(s) images and say(s), ‘I want to make landscapes’ and I do research in my giant source pile.” 

Recently, Wood’s created work that focused on personal and everyday objects, as well as iconography. For example, Lithograph “Notepad Doodle 2 (State II)”(2018) utilizes 14 colors in order to depict this still life scene of potted plants against a dark background. This series also includesNotepad Doodle 2 (State I)”(2018) and “Notepad Doodle (State III)”(2018). These lithographs embody Wood’s trademark style of blocky, graphic illustrations and portrayals of seemingly mundane domestic interiors. These images of pots and vase beautifully represent the lush and minimal interiors and reference to Wood’s influences such as David Hockney and Ed Ruscha. Wood’s works incorporate sophisticated perspectives and forms, adopting overlays of simple shapes and flat, yet bright, colors, drawing together Modernist Abstraction and Pop influenced Figuration. 

I’m not a photo-realist,” said Wood,the way that I think about painting is that I’m just making large shapes and making smaller shapes and then making very small lines and that’s sort of how I put together my paintings. I think less about if this is real for the viewer and more of if it’s balanced as a painting.”  Wood’s artworks often carry a somewhat ambiguous and vague ambiance due to the general absence of people and personal references. Visually, these images are striking due to the radiant and appealing colors, as well as the classic and recognizable shapes and objects that are often juxtaposed with distorted spaces. Wood’s enjoys disorienting and compressing space and constructs mystical realities within the outlines and contours of plants, leaves and domestic objects. His use of detail assists in capturing the impression and feeling of empty spaces, as well as potentially helping to highlight the remnants of human presence. 

Jonas Wood’s unique and raw approach to interiors and landscapes uses a representational style, with pointillist dots, heavy patterns, and fauvist palettes embedded in tradition yet completely fresh. Wood’s conquers the unthinkable sharpness of modernity with the intimate and recognizable feelings of home. 

Drawings and limited edition prints by Jonas Wood are now available at Guy Hepner.