This is the exhibition David Hockney came to visit the very day before I was scheduled to go.
Jonas Wood at David Kordansky Gallery. A must see in Los Angeles, through December 16, 2017.
It is fresh and inspired, much like David Hockney’s own work to which Jonas Wood’s self-assured brushstrokes pay a vibrant homage.
Both artists seem to share a similar vision of life, where colors sing and textural patterns resonate quietly, albeit confidently.
Yet in Jonas Wood’s paintings perhaps the time immemorial rhythmic quality of aboriginal motifs is more apparent.
I find his palette is also tighter than Hockney’s: many of Jonas Wood’s landscapes play tone on tone, never straying far from keys of earthy brown or forest green.
Even white on white manages to be colorful!
He builds space with patterns which add vibrancy and energy, without necessarily resorting to vivid contrasts expediently.
Case in point: how can Jonas Wood make Las Vegas so recognizable and yet so devoid of the contrasts we readily associate with Vegas?
His paintings transported me into a universe flooded with light, much like the vivid quality of an illuminated stage as the theater lights go dark – except Jonas Wood uses the white walls of the gallery space as contrasting medium.
Like David Hockney, Jonas Wood works from photographic collages. His paintings present multiple perspectives (more on the subject, here), carefully highlighting a multitude of angles and details worthy of appreciation, if not attention.
Joining the fight against what Hockney termed “cyclopic perspective”, Jonas Wood delivers an ambitious way of seeing.
Each painting takes you on a generous visual journey where you can just let your eyes butterfly from one pinpointed detail to the next. Marvel at a surprising touch of royal blue on vegetation and embrace an acute sense of color as cues to keep looking and wondering.
In Exterior with Hanging Plants (2017), sharp long shadows project on a terra cotta brick floor and delineate a pyramidal arrangement of potted plants.
A true virtuoso when it comes to depicting leaves of all shape or form, Jonas Wood delivers a patchwork of almost child-like dot and line patterns up close; but take a step or two and everything resolves in the lushest of foliage.
The pared-down green outlines he painted on surrounding white panels are the only fragments required for our imagination to complete the hanging vegetation covering window panes basked in sunlight. Such an economy of line letting light radiate effortlessly!
In Japanese Garden (2017), I thought of Seurat, Pointillism quickly followed by Divisionism, and how Jonas Wood’s light may be inspired and nonetheless his very own.
Seurat was interested in dissecting color into small juxtaposed dots which our eyes see as optically mixed with the effect of distance. A softly diffused light effect permeates most of Seurat’s works as a result (explore this here).
For Jonas Wood, it’s more about medical contrasts and the flood lights of an operating theater. His works grant our hyper-sensitized vision a vividness that’s nonetheless never harsh. Equipped with a microscope function, our eyes isolate threads, cells, textures and structures but the choice to see all this is still ours.
His work is a canvas for how we want to see the world we live in. Savor its infinite details using the sharp focus of your eyes or take a step back…
Jonas Wood, Landscapes and Interiors, is at David Kordansky Gallery until December 16, 2017.
© 2017 Ingrid Westlake
All pictures by Ingrid Westlake, unless otherwise stated.