I’m down in Miami for a few days for Art Basel. I love coming here not only because it is a great way to see what/who is hot in the art market, but also because it is an opportunity to discover new artists you’ve never heard of before. In honor of Basel, I wanted to share the work of one of my favorite artists, Jonas Wood. While he certainly isn’t an emerging artist, he is a young artist who’s work has become quite important. Born in Boston in 1977, he studied at Hobart and William Smith College and received his MFA from the University of Washington. Many have compared Wood’s work to the still-lifes and interiors of modern masters like Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Giorgio Morandi, and Edward Hopper. He is known for his paintings of contemporary American life, like this one, below:
These two still life works, below, show one of Wood’s favorite objects to paint: the potted plant! Still Life With Cat Vessels, 2012, oil and acrylic on linen.
Blue Rug Still Life, 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas.
His new body of work is called “Clippings.” The title was inspired by his creative process of literally clipping or borrowing from his other paintings. Wood often paints domestic interiors that feature a few potted plants. He explains: “I’m presenting these forms in the same way that I would represent something like a pot on a table with a plant in it…. The table is gone and the floor plane is completely erased…. I am removing them from a painting and making them independent…. These plant paintings are exploring shape and repetition in the same way as Alexander Calder—through suspension in space…. The plant paintings are refined, simplified forms of just shape and color with only a touch of representation.”
Green Landscape Pot with Orchid, 2014, gouache and colored pencil on paper.
Tropical Interior Landscape Pot, 2014, ink, gouache, and colored pencil on paper.
Purple Orchid Clipping, 2013, gouache and colored pencil on paper. These works with the flower or plant isolated on a white background without a pot feel like a nod to Matisse’s cut outs.
An installation view of some of the large scale paintings from “Clippings.”
The prints below called Untitled, 2014 are being sold at the moment through the shop at the Gagosian at a much more approachable price point than Wood’s paintings. They are editions of 50. Three of them are hung above the bookshelves in the photo below. Aren’t they great? This work feels very easy to live with and enjoy for a long time.
Follow me this week at Art Basel on Instagram and twitter @mcgrath2!
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