Jonas Wood’s exhibition at David Kordansky’s new location at 5130 W. Edgewood Place (Los Angeles, November 8, 2014- January 10, 2015) is the painter’s most expansive and diverse show to date. Each room is focused on a genre within his painting practice: plants, sports cards and portraits (including the ceramist Akio Takamori whose portrait is shown below). This is accompanied by a salon-style installation of works on paper, dating from 2007 to the present, closely related to the paintings on view.
Above image: Jonas wood, Black Landscape Pot with Blue Plant, 2014, oil and acrylic on canvas, 118 x 93 inches
Over the past decade, Wood has developed a singular style of representational image-making. Working from a vast archive of photographs— shot and collected by the artist or sourced via the Internet— Wood reinterprets everyday views from his life. Domestic interiors, televised sports and snapshots of family members become observational events and opportunities for the construction of line and shape. In each work he collages flat, graphic color and freehand geometric patterns, synthesizing discontinuous views of his subjects
CFile has focused on the debut of a new series, large-scale pictures of solitary plants in painted pots. Referred to as “landscape pots,” each image pairs a “clipping” —a plant form isolated from a preceding work by Wood— with a vessel shape that is, itself, a painted view––a cityscape, park, or jungle-like foliage. Composing images of objects, perspectival spaces and external surfaces, as well as textures, scales and temporalities, the pots exemplify Wood’s montage-based practice, evoking uncanny nostalgia.
There are echoes in these works, the Ed Baynard prints and water colors are an inevitable comparison but ultimately of limited relevance aside from the flat plane. Also they remind me, but only abstractly, of the little-known British Pop artist Patrick Caulfield’s long series of pot prints.
But the differences make similarities with other work superficial. Baynard offers a still life, Jonas uses the modality of still life to paint a landscape. The beauty of the places the pots take us to is enthralling in an emotional sense (and the large scale is key to pulling off this seduction, removing preciousness). The plant cleverly roots us in the flora of the landscape, be it natural vegetation or transported to a city by a florist.
Furthermore, it delivers a lush rediscovery of exoticism a’ la Gauguin but with the sharpness and detachment of an iced drink. Lastly, Jonas should be congratulated for his risk taking. He has moved into territory that skirts close to the rocky outcrops commercial art and the cliché (as does much Pop art) but he survives brilliantly.
An accompanying fully-illustrated catalog, designed by Brian Roettinger and the artist, is available from the gallery.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
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