Somewhere in between figuration and abstraction lies the work of Jonas Wood, an L.A.-based painter with a real knack for capturing interiors. Drawing on Matisse's sense of geometry and Picasso's antic cubism, Wood's still-lifes and portraits magnify the hokey charm of American home life by flattening it into something strange and unpredictable. As David Pagel writes for the L.A. Times, Wood's approach to domestic spaces makes "the ordinary things in them look better than ever, as if the rooms themselves were in good moods, and those moods were infectious."
In taking scenes from his own life and turning them abstract and impersonal, Wood—who got his B.A. in psychology and once considered pursuing a Ph.D.—suggests that he's less interested in the kitsch-filled guest rooms and home offices that figure in his paintings than in the psychological impact of inhabiting them. He works almost exclusively from sketches, photographs, and etchings, converting an image through several mediums before completing it in oil or acrylic, like using Google to translate a diary entry into a foreign language and then back into your own. Or, perhaps more pertinently, like realizing that your memory of place is actually a memory of a memory.
Admittedly, this sounds like heady stuff to impose upon, say, a still life of a basement book collection, but it's a testament to Wood's vision that his cataloguing of the quotidian remains so buoyant and compelling. If you're based in New York and looking to get a closer look, Wood's latest works are showing at the Anton Kern Gallery until October 19.
—Spencer PetersonIlustration by Jonas Wood via HuffPost Arts & Culture Ilustration by Jonas Wood via HuffPost Arts & Culture
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