A way to share and manage lots.
Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago
Chicago, Jonas Wood, Shane Campbell Gallery, 19 September-31 October 2009
"Really the whole sports theme is just a vehicle for practicing portraiture." - JONAS WOOD, 2013
Dennis Johnson (1954-2007), most commonly known as DJ, made his name known in professional basketball in the late 1970s and 1980s whilst playing for several renowned American teams. In this painting, Jonas Wood depicts DJ representing the Phoenix Suns where he solidified his status as a powerful main scorer between 1980 and 1983. This large work on linen is Wood’s most finalised version of this particular motif which derived from a collectable trading card and can be traced to one of his drawing from the same year. Often stylistically linked to the artistic oeuvre of American Pop artists, Wood’s method of reduction to obtain refined clarity is particularly obvious when comparing these two related works. In his final painted work, the artist eradicates frivolous details such as lettering and more subtle areas of varied tonality to bring to the fore the defined contours of DJ’s features. The stark contrast between areas of light and shadow is employed in such a way that further emphasises the graphic stylisation of his subject matter perhaps most akin to that of his predecessor, David Hockney. Similarly, the choice of subject matter places Wood firmly in the trajectory of American Pop as he absorbs the format of this particular type of memorabilia, enlarging it and imbuing it with renewed permanence through his painting. Pop Art notions of materiality and iconography are thus, brought to the fore in Wood’s decision to raise the status of his chosen image, from a cheap and mass produced card to a resounding and permanent ode to the basketball player. As a result, this painting acts as a pertinent contribution to the discourse around notions of image hierarchy - a topic so central to post-modern theory.
Wood’s fascination with sports icons particularly in their collectable state can be found in many of his works that feature not just a plethora of basketball players, but also baseball players and boxing champions. Their highly recognisable faces dominate his portraits. Wood himself has admitted however, that above the cultural connotations associated with these personalities, what drew him to this subject matter was the nature in which their images were captured in sports-related merchandise. Typically depicted in mid-motion or with emotive expressions, their representations create dynamic and iconic portraits – the perfect focus for Wood’s stylistic experimentations.
‘I follow the local sport wherever I live. I love Boston sports, Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, but I don't hate any other teams. The sports thing is funny. A lot of people think my work on the subject is based on being a super sports fan, because I'm from Boston or because I make these nostalgic pictures, but really the whole sports theme is just a vehicle for practicing portraiture.’
London 14 October 2015 7pm