Jonas Wood was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1977. Raised by ‘art inclined’ parents, he attended Hobart and William Smith Colleges as an undergraduate – a liberal arts school where he could study both art and science. By his junior year, he had completed his psychology major and spent his senior year studying painting. Graduating in 1999, he went on to receive his MFA from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Wood’s multidimensional work has been described as having ‘one foot in Modernist cool and the other in vibrant Pop Art’. He combines techniques – among them photography and collage – to create images which blur the boundaries of figuration and abstraction, capturing a sharp, modernist perspective on contemporary American life.
Working almost exclusively from life studies, sketches and collaged mock-ups, Wood’s distinctively humble aesthetic uses overlapping textures to create a disorienting sense of space. Infused with a serious engagement in the history of American art, they are most notable for their relationship to the golden era of twentieth century American painting, drawing ready comparison with artists including Grant Wood, Stuart Davis and Edward Hopper.
Wood’s intimate settings also easily evoke the work of his predecessors such as Matisse and Hockney. Yet his distorted interiors possess an affectless aspect all their own. Silhouettes of pots and vases enclose both landscapes and interiors: a painter’s studio, a sprawling green golf course, a lush garden, a coral reef with exotic fish – each scene abruptly ends at the edge of the framing object.
Wood says he paints to create fresh memories of his lived experience. ‘I’m interested in exploring the spaces I’ve inhabited and the psychological impact they’ve had on me and my memories of them. Then I can create a new memory of that space.’ The result is work which both exactingly precise and deeply sincere.
Wood has been given solo exhibitions at Anton Kern Gallery, New York and Patrick De Brock Gallery, Belgium in 2011; at the Cirrus Gallery in Los Angeles, La Montagne Gallery in Boston and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2010 and at the MinMin Gallery, Tokyo, Japan in 2009 as well as the Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, the Black Dragon Society, Los Angeles and RAW & CO in Cleveland, Ohio.