Landscape Pot with Plant (2017)
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Jonas Wood's paintings and works on paper display overlapping textures and disorienting compressions of space; the intimate settings invoke the work of forebears such as Matisse and Hockney, yet his distorted verdant rooms possess an affectless cut-out appearance all his own. In drawings, collages, watercolours, and paintings, outlines of pots and vases frame landscape and interior imagery. Drawn and painted vessels set against neutral backgrounds contain a sprawling green golf course; a coral reef with exotic fish; a lush garden; a painter's studio, all scenes that end abruptly at the parameters of the object.
Jonas Wood paints his immediate surroundings: family and friends, domestic or studio spaces, tabletop arrangements of ceramic vessels and plants, basketballs and landscapes. Together these paintings act as an unfolding visual diary of personal memories, poignant moments alongside everyday experiences.
Usually painting from photo-collages assembled from many views of the same subject, Wood takes delightful liberties with background, scale, and colour, often distorting figures, employing unusually vivid hues, or adding a work of art in place of a family photo in an interior scene. He also starts new productions from previous ones, reworking the same content into a meditation on how his life has changed or how his attitudes towards his subjects change. "I'm interested in exploring the spaces that I've inhabited and the psychological impact they've had on me and my memories of them," says Wood. "And then I can create a new memory of that space."
This innocent exuberance, which comes from Wood's ability to inhabit and mimic childhood as much as reflect on it, is remarkable. It is fitting that the touchstones one most often finds associated with Wood are David Hockney and Vincent van Gogh. Wood's spaces are built through technique and practice, the labour of a man in a world of exponentially multiplying images. But ultimately these works owe allegiance to emotion and memory. What we see is a product of how Wood feels, and his feelings are coherent and heartening, thankfully free of the temptation to manufacture drama or to exaggerate.