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In his boldly colored, graphic works—including paintings, drawings, and prints—Jonas Wood combines art historical references with images of the objects, interiors, and people that comprise the fabric of his life.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.
Artist Plate Project 2021
Coalition for the Homeless
Launching November 16, 2021, 10am est
Limited-edition bone china plates produced by Prospect and featuring artwork by more than forty artists—including Virgil Abloh, Urs Fischer, Helen Frankenthaler, Alex Israel, Ewa Juszkiewicz, Ed Ruscha, Sarah Sze, Tom Wesselmann, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool—will be sold through Artware Editions to raise funds for the Coalition’s lifesaving programs. The funds raised by the sale of the plates will provide food, crisis services, housing, and other critical aid to thousands of people experiencing homelessness and instability. The purchase of one plate can feed one hundred homeless and hungry New Yorkers.
Jonas Wood, Clipping Plate, 2021 © Jonas Wood
Art Basel Hong Kong 2021
May 21–23, 2021, booth 1d30
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Art Basel Hong Kong with a presentation of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by gallery artists. New paintings by Georg Baselitz, Alex Israel, Ed Ruscha, and Sarah Sze are featured alongside exceptional works in a range of mediums by Louise Bonnet, Theaster Gates, Henry Moore, Nam June Paik, and others, uncovering formal and conceptual innovations and associations that span genres and aesthetic approaches.
Georg Baselitz, Noch ein Orangenesser, 2020 © Georg Baselitz
Artist Plate Project 2020
Coalition for the Homeless
November 16–December 14, 2020
Gagosian is pleased to support the Coalition for the Homeless’s Artist Plate Project fundraiser. Artwork by fifty artists, including Cecily Brown, Katharina Grosse, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Sarah Sze, Andy Warhol, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool, is featured on limited-edition dinner plates produced by Prospect and made available through Artware Editions to support the Coalition’s lifesaving programs. All of the funds raised by the sale of the plates will provide food, crisis services, housing, and other critical aid to thousands of people experiencing homelessness and instability. The purchase of one plate can feed seventy-five homeless and hungry New Yorkers.
Katharina Grosse, Shake Before Using, 2020 © Katharina Grosse and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany 2020
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
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
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 featured 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 was 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