Gallery Hopping: Jonas Wood’s New Portraits at Anton Kern
Wood's paintings have been earning raves for years.
Already five years ago, when he was 33, Jonas Wood’s alluring paintings got a rave from no less than the New York Times’s Roberta Smith, who praised their “dour yet lavish palette, tactile but implacably workmanlike surfaces and subtly perturbed sense of space.” In his latest outing, at New York’s Anton Kern Gallery, Wood stays close to home, continuing to portray close friends and family, as well as the sports figures who have been frequent subjects.
Other artists continue to feature in his work, including, in this show, the husband-and-wife collaborators Michael and Magdalena Suarez Frimkess; Wood shows one of their wildly decorated vessels in Diet 7Up Frimkess Pot (2016). Also appearing in the show is painter Mark Grotjahn, who poses with one of his distinctive abstract canvases in the painting Spiritual Warrior (2016).
Wood shows his close associates to be big animal lovers, with no fewer than half of the paintings’ subjects posing with pets, including Robot (Self Portrait) (2013/2013), in which Wood holds aloft an adorable black canine.
The artist reveals an affinity for both the popular and the specialized. One large painting memorializes the late pro basketballer Dwayne Schintzius, whose distinctive mullet hairstyle earned him the sobriquet “the lobster.” By contrast, a subject identified only as Robin poses with a cat named Ptolemy; the cat’s namesake was a Greek-Egyptian mathematician and astronomer perhaps known to fewer people today than Schintzius, but well-regarded for several scientific treatises that he published early in the first millennium.
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