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In his boldly colored, graphic works—including paintings, drawings, and prints—Jonas Wood combines art historical references with images of the objects, interiors, and people that comprise the fabric of his life.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.
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.
Artist Plate Project
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
Jonas Wood is available for online reading from August 2 through August 31 as part of the From the Library series. Published on the occasion of his 2019 exhibition at Gagosian, 555 West 24th Street, New York, the softcover catalogue features full-color reproductions of thirty new paintings and works on paper that range from his familiar and beloved pots to his most recent series of architectural interiors and exteriors.
Jonas Wood (New York: Gagosian, 2019)
Jonas Wood has collaborated with RxART to create unique and playful privacy curtains for the pediatric intensive care unit at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. Wood based the design on his ongoing Facetime Doodle series, which is inspired by drawings made by his own children.
Jonas Wood’s privacy curtains installed at the Children’s National Hospital, Washington, DC
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
The Marciano Collection
May 25–September 16, 2017
Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles
Unpacking: The Marciano Collection was the debut presentation of the collection’s holdings organized by Philipp Kaiser. The title and theme of the show were 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, Jennifer Guidi, Thomas Houseago, Alex Israel, Takashi Murakami, Albert Oehlen, Sterling Ruby, Cindy Sherman, Franz West, Jonas Wood, and Christopher Wool was included.
Installation view, Unpacking: The Marciano Collection, Marciano Art Foundation, Los Angeles, May 25–September 16, 2017. Artwork, left to right: © Albert Oehlen, © Christopher Wool