Jonas Wood Paints "Plants and Animals"
Jonas Wood paints memories. Yes, that is simple speak, and maybe that won't make it into the critical essay of Wood's work when his musuem retrospectives happen decades from now, but debate me wrong. His work, whether is large-recreation of sports trading cards years ago or his paintings of interior spaces always captured nostalgia in its rawest form. For his latest exhibition, Plants and Animals, it feels like a more current memory, the life we lead as we all look inward during a pandemic and the quiet moments shared with ourselves and, if we are lucky, our families.
The works are dense and yet there is a space to roam in each. That the exhibition pairs works on paper and studies with the large-scale paintings captures Wood's thinking and process, brings added life to the stillness of the moments he creates. You get an idea of how the artist thinks and what is important. As the gallery notes, "What arises from all of these works, whether on canvas or paper, are images of life as remembered, imagined, invented, and observed. But as plants and animals often do for those who appreciate them, their subjects also speak to a deeply felt curiosity about—and affection for—the natural world. Deeply personal on the one hand and capable of generating broad appeal on the other, Wood’s pictures are antithetical to the kinds of separation and distance that mark so many attempts, artistic or otherwise, to analyze or represent the phenomena of daily life. They are testaments, rather, to what happens when art becomes another living phenomenon, as vivid and responsive as the things it depicts—and as able to elicit emotion from the humans who experience it."
Wood seems to be in a more peaceful, revealing place with his work. The colors seem richer, the moments more compelling, intimate and even universal. —Evan Pricco