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Jonas Wood

February 5, 2010 - May 9, 2010

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ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Jonas Wood paints scenes of the world around him through the prism of his memory. Deploying genres as time-honored as the medium itself, Wood paints portraits, interiors, and still lifes. His immediate surroundings are his subjects: family and friends, domestic or studio spaces, tabletop arrangements of ceramic vessels and plants, and landscapes. Through his prolific practice, Wood is building a visual diary of sorts, an ever-expanding documentary of personal memories and interests. Usually painting from collaged photographs, Wood takes delightful liberties with background, scale, and color, often distorting figures, employing unusually vivid hues, or adding a work of art in place of a family photo in an interior scene.

For the past year, Wood has been painting a new series of still lifes which will be presented for the first time in this exhibition. Evolving out of his ongoing series of tabletop scenes of arrangements of potted plants and vases displaying cut flora, these new paintings each feature a rectilinear form with branching lines and geometric shapes reaching out and upward into the picture planes. Painted in bright colors and solid black against monochrome backgrounds, the forms recall Wood’s more realistically rendered potted plants as well as abstract sculptures atop plinths. Evocative of the Modernist sculptures of David Smith or Alexander Calder as well as Henri Matisse’s boldly-colored abstract collages, these more abstract works combine Wood’s interest in direct experience with his fascination with the many forms and genres found throughout art history.

ESSAY

By Corrina Peipon

Jonas Wood paints scenes from the world around him through the prism of his memory. Using genres as time-honored as the medium itself, Wood paints portraits, interiors, still lifes, and landscapes. His immediate surroundings are his primary subjects: family and friends, domestic or studio spaces, tabletop arrangements of ceramic vessels and plants, a tangle of freeways, or a lush green golf course. Through these traditional means, Wood is building a visual diary of sorts, a subjective documentary. Many of his compositions are derived from collages of photographs he takes of his friends and family, of rooms in his childhood home or his studio, or of his own reflection in a mirror, among many other subjects. He often executes preliminary sketches or studies based on the initial collage, occasionally going further by removing part of a sketch and expanding upon it or adding it to yet another collage before committing the composition to canvas.

While it is always possible to read Wood’s paintings as being of something, his process produces imagery that veers toward abstraction by alternately or simultaneously flattening, elongating, or fragmenting spaces and forms, effects that he seamlessly translates into the paintings. His experiments with abstraction do not result in strictly nonobjective paintings, but the delightful liberties he takes with background, scale, and color, as well as his propensity to distort figures and juxtapose spaces, help move the compositions ever so slightly away from nature. By reducing pictorial specificity, Wood suggests that all representation is already abstraction. Nonetheless, his process of representation allows him to effectively express his subjective impressions of a given theme. As much as Wood is manipulating formal strategies in order to develop and assert his own language in painting, he also creates what he calls “new memories” by rearranging reality to suit his own desires. (1) This overlay of impressions and memories onto his subjects results in an intensely personal catalog of images derived from his family history and individual interests. By inventing and committing to a formal language deployed throughout the paintings, Wood allows us access to these new memories of a private world. More

 

Hammer Projects: Jonas Wood is Jonas Wood’s fist one-person museum exhibition and is organized by Corrina Peipon, Hammer curatorial associate.

 

Hammer Projects is made possible with major gifts from Susan Bay Nimoy and Leonard Nimoy and The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation.

Additional generous support is provided by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, Good Works Foundation and Laura Donnelley, L A Art House Foundation, the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, and the David Teiger Curatorial Travel Fund.

Hammer Projects: Jonas Wood has also received support from John Rubeli.

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