You could call [my work] a visual diary or even a personal history. I’m not going to paint something that doesn’t have anything to do with me. Of all of the possible things I could paint, the thing that interests me is something that I can get close enough to in order to paint it honestly.
In his boldly colored, graphic works—including paintings, drawings, and prints—Jonas Wood combines art historical references with images of the objects, interiors, and people that comprise the fabric of his life. Translating the three-dimensional world around him into flat color and line, he confounds expectations of scale and vantage point.
Born in Boston, Wood grew up surrounded by the art collection of his grandfather, featuring the work of artists such as Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Jim Dine, Robert Motherwell, Larry Rivers, and Andy Warhol. He received a BA from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, in 1999, majoring in psychology and minoring in studio art, then attended the University of Washington, Seattle, where he received an MFA in painting and drawing in 2002. During his student years, he explored making collage-like works based on montaged photographs that he took of himself, his friends, and their surroundings. These early photo-based paintings possess a darker and more volatile energy that is not as immediately evident in the work Wood is known for today.
Shortly after art school, Wood moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for the painter Laura Owens for a few years. Wood currently shares a studio with artist Shio Kusaka, his wife since 2002, and the pair often work in tandem, motifs migrating from Kusaka’s ceramic vessels to Wood’s paintings and back again. Common subjects include plants, portraits, and sports imagery, all of which come together in Wood’s lush interiors and intricate still lifes. He and Kusaka also incorporate imagery from their expansive art collection—including works by Alighiero Boetti, Michael Frimkess and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess, Mark Grotjahn, and Ed Ruscha—as well as from their children’s storybooks and drawings.
In 2010, Wood had his first solo museum exhibition, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibition was followed by a number of public commissions, including murals for the High Line, New York (Shelf Still Life, 2014) and the façades of LAXART, Los Angeles (2014) and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (Still Life with Two Owls (MOCA), 2016).
Wood often works in categories of distinct subject matter, and the publications that are made alongside his exhibitions, or in retrospect, highlight his interest in these genres. Interiors (2012) gathers works showing various domestic spaces; Pots (2015), paintings of flattened vessels featuring imagery from pop culture and art history; Portraits (2016), group and single portraits of Wood’s family, friends, and sports heroes; and Clippings (2017), depictions of overlapping stems, leaves, and flowers.
In 2015 Gagosian in Hong Kong presented Blackwelder, which brought together Wood’s and Kusaka’s works in a dedicated two-person exhibition. This was followed by the couple’s first collaborative museum exhibition, at Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands, in 2017. In 2019, the Dallas Museum of Art presented Wood’s first major survey show, bringing together thirty-three works from across his career.
April 24–July 19, 2019
West 24th Street, New York
April 5–May 25, 2018
976 Madison Avenue, New York
December 28, 2015–January 31, 2016
Eden Rock—St. Barths
October 13–December 19, 2015
Britannia Street, London
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019
The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.
Jonas Wood: Prints
On the occasion of Jonas Wood’s first survey of prints, the artist spoke about the development of his printmaking practice and its influence on his paintings with legendary Los Angeles–based printmaker Jacob Samuel.
Jonas Wood: Mural
In Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s 5,400-square-foot facade now hosts a vibrant mural by one of the city’s own artists. Meredith Mendelsohn reports on the impact the mural has on revitalizing the museum’s exterior and downtown.
Thursday, December 12, 2019, 6–8pm
Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Los Angeles
Jonas Wood will be signing copies of his new self-titled monograph, published by Phaidon. This monograph—the first on the artist’s work—brings together his most significant paintings and drawings and reveals the vast array of his sources. The book includes contributions by curators Helen Molesworth and Ian Alteveer, as well as a conversation between Wood and Mark Grotjahn. The event is free and open to the public.
Jonas Wood (New York: Phaidon, 2019)
Art Basel Miami Beach 2019
December 5–8, 2019, booth D7
Miami Beach Convention Center
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Miami Beach 2019 with modern and contemporary artworks by Richard Avedon, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joe Bradley, Cecily Brown, John Chamberlain, John Currin, Edmund de Waal, Rachel Feinstein, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Katharina Grosse, Mark Grotjahn, Jennifer Guidi, Simon Hantaï, Damien Hirst, Alex Israel and Bret Easton Ellis, Ellsworth Kelly, Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Peter Marino, Adam McEwen, Joan Mitchell, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Steven Parrino, Pablo Picasso, Rudolf Polanszky, Richard Prince, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra, Rudolf Stingel, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Mary Weatherford, Tom Wesselmann, Jonas Wood, Christopher Wool, and Zao Wou-Ki, among others.
Tom Wesselmann, Sunset Nude with Wesselmann Still Life, 2004 © The Estate of Tom Wesselmann/Licensed by ARS/VAGA, New York
Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market 2019
November 1–3, 2019, table A04
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Gagosian is pleased to participate in the Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market, organized by a collective of Los Angeles–based independent art book publishers. A platform and marketplace for art books, the three-day event is focused on creating a space for meaningful and sustained conversations around art publishing. In addition to offering an assortment of catalogues associated with Los Angeles, the gallery will be celebrating the release of Piero Manzoni: An Artist’s Life, a biography of the Italian conceptual artist.
Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market
March 24–July 14, 2019
Dallas Museum of Art
The Dallas Museum of Art presents the first major solo museum exhibition of work by Jonas Wood, bringing together approximately thirty-five works across thirteen years of his career. The exhibition traces the artist’s fascination with psychology, memory, and the self to shed light on a practice that is both deeply personal and universal.
Jonas Wood, Face Painting, 2014 © Jonas Wood
One Day at a Time
Manny Farber and Termite Art
October 14, 2018–March 11, 2019
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
This exhibition was inspired by American painter and film critic Manny Farber and his legendary underground essay “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art” (1962). One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art features approximately thirty artists and more than one hundred works of painting, sculpture, photography, film, video, and sound dating from the 1950s to the present. Work by Jennifer Guidi and Jonas Wood is included.
Jennifer Guidi, Eclipse (Painted Mandala Mountain SF #1A, Black Sand, Blue, Yellow, Purple, Red), 2017 © Jennifer Guidi
Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood
September 30, 2017–January 7, 2018
Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands
This exhibition brings together works by both artists as a way to highlight the symbiosis and distinctive nature of their practices, in terms of combining the disciplines of painting and ceramics, but also emphasizing the echoes within and between their work.
Installation view, Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood, Musuem Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands, September 30, 2017–January 7, 2018. Photo by Antoine van Kaam
The Marciano Collection
May 25–September 16, 2017
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
Unpacking: The Marciano Collection is the debut presentation of the collection’s holdings organized by Philipp Kaiser. The title and theme of the show are derived from Walter Benjamin’s essay “Unpacking My Library,” in which he discusses the chaotic potentiality inherent in unpacking and recontextualizing one’s collection. Work by Mark Grotjahn, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, Cindy Sherman, Franz West, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool is included.
Photo by Robert Wedemeyer