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In his boldly colored, graphic works—including paintings, drawings, and prints—Jonas Wood combines art historical references with images of the objects, interiors, and people that comprise the fabric of his life.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.
Behind the Art
Jonas Wood in Hong Kong
Join Jonas Wood on a virtual tour through the creation of his first solo exhibition in Hong Kong. Wood narrates the genesis and development of the new paintings, drawings, and wallpaper.
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 façade 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.
Frieze Seoul 2023
September 7–9, 2023, booth C14
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Frieze Seoul 2023 with a presentation of contemporary works by gallery artists, including Derrick Adams, Georg Baselitz, Dan Colen, Edmund de Waal, Jadé Fadojutimi, Urs Fischer, Cy Gavin, Mehdi Ghadyanloo, Nan Goldin, Katharina Grosse, Jennifer Guidi, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Rick Lowe, Takashi Murakami, Nam June Paik, Giuseppe Penone, Ed Ruscha, Alexandria Smith, Anna Weyant, Stanley Whitney, Jonas Wood, and Richard Wright, among others.
Coinciding with the fair is the arrival of Jiyoung Lee, who was recently appointed to lead the gallery’s operations in Korea. Lee joins Gagosian following nearly fifteen years based in Seoul working on behalf of both Korean and Western galleries. Her appointment builds on the gallery’s establishment of a business entity in Korea last year, and provides for expanded activities in the region.
Gagosian’s booth at Frieze Seoul 2023. Artwork, left to right: © Jadé Fadojutimi, © Jen Guidi, © Alexandria Smith, © Mehdi Ghadyanloo, © Rick Lowe Studio, © Jonas Wood, Photo: Sebastiano Pellion di Persano
Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market 2023
June 16–18, 2023, table A05
Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
Gagosian is participating in the Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market, which is organized by a collective of Los Angeles–based independent publishers. Now in its third year, the three-day fair brings together over ninety exhibitors to present new books and projects and foster meaningful conversations around art publishing. To celebrate the recent release of its six hundredth title, the gallery will offer six hundred Gagosian publications for $10 each, including books on West Coast artists Jennifer Guidi, Ed Ruscha, and Jonas Wood, among others. The fair is free to attend.
A selection of recent Gagosian publications
Spring Benefit Auction
May 24–June 8, 2023
This online benefit auction for Printed Matter features over sixty donated artworks—some of which were created especially for the fundraiser—by contemporary artists, including Richard Artschwager, Piero Golia, Adam McEwen, Richard Prince, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, and Jonas Wood. Proceeds from the auction, which is hosted by Artsy, will support the nonprofit organization’s mission to further the distribution, understanding, and appreciation of artist’s books and related publications.
Piero Golia, The Best Is Yet to Come, 2020 © Piero Golia
Room by Room
Concepts, Themes, and Artists in the Rachofsky Collection
Through November 25, 2023
The Warehouse, Dallas
Room by Room builds on the ongoing interest at The Warehouse to reflect on the development of its collection, presenting works for the first time. Spanning a range of mediums, geographies, and eras, each gallery focuses on a single artist or theme, allowing an in-depth look at the artistic movements important to the collection from the outset, together with other avenues of interest that have developed over the years. Work by Richard Artschwager, Alex Israel, Sterling Ruby, and Jonas Wood is included.
Jonas Wood, Patterned Interior with Mar Vista View, 2020, Rachofsky Collection © Jonas Wood
Jonas Wood in
The Interior Life: Recent Acquisitions
March 17–September 10, 2023
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
The Interior Life: Recent Acquisitions brings together a selection of artworks that have been added to the National Gallery of Art’s collection of modern and contemporary art over the last three years. Through allusions to the body, community, and everyday spaces, as well as in more abstract works, the exhibiting artists draw upon their interior lives to offer rich perspectives on life’s challenges and possibilities. Work by Jonas Wood is included.
Jonas Wood, Helen’s Room, 2017 © Jonas Wood
Together in Time
Selections from the Hammer Contemporary Collection
March 26–August 20, 2023
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Presented in conjunction with the unveiling of the Hammer’s building expansion, Together in Time highlights acquisitions made since 2005—the year the institution began collecting contemporary art. Organized around a sequence of discrete installations that highlight varied groupings of artists, the exhibition presents the tendencies and sensibilities at the forefront of contemporary art by Los Angeles–based and international artists. Work by Amoako Boafo, Chris Burden, and Jonas Wood is included.
Jonas Wood, Brian and Ana, 2014 © Jonas Wood
Wayne Thiebaud Influencer
A New Generation
June 3–November 12, 2021
Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis
On the occasion of his 100th birthday, this exhibition explores the profound influence that Wayne Thiebaud, longtime UC Davis art professor, has had on subsequent generations of artists, including both fellow painters and his former students. Pairings explore how Thiebaud forecast the future of painting through his personal journey to find meaning and reinvention in the medium’s history. Work by Alex Israel and Jonas Wood is included.
Jonas Wood, Four Majors, 2018, Installation view, Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, University of California, Davis, June 3–November 12, 2021. Artwork © Jonas Wood. Photo: Cleber Bonato