Thursday, September 15, 2016

Jonas Wood by Adam McGowan

The exhibit of the work of Jonas Wood titled "Jonas Wood Portraits" is at the Anton Kern Gallery in Chelsea from Sept 8 - Oct 22.  The exhibit consisted of portraits of friends and family.  Most of the portraits were oil and acrylic.  

The paintings were representational but had abstract attributes and mechanics such as flat colored shapes, hard edged contours, and the color in an exaggerated color  palate.  

One of the signs of a great portrait painter is the ability to express or illustrate the true personality of the subject and sense of identity.Which i believe that every good portrait painter has this skill under there utility belt.   Jonah Wood does this very well.  You have a sense of familiarity when looking at the people in his portraits. This was the most appealing factor in the paintings.  It is what drew me to the work.  It almost seemed to be like an invitation to be introduced and meet his friends and family. 

His use of these flat shapes helped to create a satirical campy or cartoonish aesthetic. For example, in the Bat/Bar Mizvah Weekend, these shapes create a sense of a cardboard cutout which emphasizes this satire.  I feel this is very contemporary. Contemporary pop art can deal with social issues and in this painting, the Bar Mitzvah  a traditional religious spiritual ceremony, is reinterpreted in a humorous way.  


  1. There are only twenty seven words in second paragraph and you concluded this artist’s style very well. After reading this paragraph I could already picture those paintings in my mind. For the third paragraph you continued to point out your internal feeling of painting. I think you could combine and evaluate the second, third and maybe first half of the last paragraph together because they are similar. And the last part maybe you could describe more about what you feel about this exhibition and sort of give the people who haven’t been there more expectation.

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  3. Your review seems contradictory. You write, "One of the signs of a great portrait painter is the ability to express or illustrate the true personality of the subject and sense of identity," and then you use the word 'flat' twice when you describe the paintings. As no true personality is "flat" or "hard edged" or like "cardboard" I think it's likely that maybe the artist isn't describing the true personality of the subject. While I appreciate your attempt at describing the work I think your descriptive language was inconsistent. I would expect words like "flat" and "card board" to be used when describing work that is kitsch or furthering the trend of de-skilling in art, but I would not expect them in a review that refers to the artist as " a great portrait painter."