Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Jonas Wood at Anton Kern

     Detail oriented Jonas Wood once again presented his audience with a series of  whimsical, autobiographical paintings at Anton Kern Gallery . Large scale, patterned works present characters with strange gazes inviting the viewer into the scene. Simultaneously, the viewer is caught in a position of a voyeur; a witness to  everyday life’s mundane happenings. Wood’s skewed perspective, treatment of pattern and positioning of characters give this mundane element an irresistible quality of a curious story of the artist to be told.
                                                             Image courtesy of Anton Kern Gallery
        In this body of work the compositions are well structured and complex. The paintings depict  both domestic settings as well as the ones from the television scenes the artist found interesting . The most striking domestic scene is in “My Old Bedroom Shelf”, in which Wood works from the memories of his childhood room. The bright color palette, in combination with bold, textile-like patterns and semi abstract shapes, brings viewers into an experience of Wood’s memory of the space. The close-up cropping in this piece, although not typical in other paintings in the show, is particularly successful in bringing the viewer into a disorienting closeness with the artist’s rendering. Paintings that reflect the artist’s interest in television scenes, such as “Head Up" that depicts a poker tournament, only work in the context of the show full of domestic imagery, complementing scenes of bedrooms and living rooms. (edit 10/16/1013)


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  2. I agree with your review about his whimsical treatment and the disorienting closeness with his subject towards the viewer. Wood’s paintings truly have a full of elements that can be easily loved by the viewer. However, there are many lacking factors in his work that can lead to failure including inconsistence in subjects like you mentioned and the “copycat impression” in his style. I can’t help making the lineage of other artist’s works such as David Hockney and Thomas Broomé who both works with dreamlike depictions of everyday subjects. It can be a false accusation, but I have a strong feeling that Jonas wood will get similar claims as a contemporary painter sooner or later in this market.

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  4. I like the way you articulated viewer getting caught in a “position of a voyeur,” Although viewer is aware that the paintings were self divulging and artist deliberately revealed his inner life through each work, still, one is enforced to feel as if he is invading someone’s privacy. Not only from the piece you mentioned but also in the ‘Yellow Front Wall’ piece, such detailed portrayal of the intimate interior of house and also domestic objects provides an illusion of actually walking through a stranger’s house. The artist’s illustrative rendering style mystifies the viewer, concurrently obscuring the real and the surreal.