Issy Wood - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Wednesday, June 22, 2022 | Phillips

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    Dog with Pendants (Not as Close) is a shining example of Wood’s magnificent desolation, who presents a double portrait of surreal domesticity. Two dogs stand proud if not bemused, their cubic haunches turning form into foundation as they are suspended against a Magrittesque backdrop of swirling clouds - a crepuscular oblivion. Tension is rife in the composition as the dogs stand guard, gargoyles against our presence, while the cropped snapshot of this gravity-defying scene elevates this unease to a debasing sense of claustrophobia.



    Rene Magritte, Torse nu dans les nuages, c. 1937


    A Haunting Malaise


    “I'm convinced the way I configure these otherwise alluring products and garments often lowers them, literally, in tone, or happily switches them from being an advert to an expression of perversion, in the way painting can do.”
    — Issy Wood


    Wood projects derisory visions of vanitas, combining elements of the past and present in an unlikely marriage that the artist labels ‘medieval millennial’, infusing contemporary anxieties into a classical lexicon where ideals are rendered non-existent by consumerism and where heritage is levied as a transaction i. With a humour as cynical as battery acid is corrosive, she scalds the genre of still life not only through her subject matter, but also – tellingly – with the titles that she bestows onto her works. Asphyxiated of allegorical markers, the artist leaves the door open for interpretation and mixed messages that can realise themselves as dark and murky as the atmospheres projected onto her canvas. The similarly brooding work of Belgian painter Michaël Borremans holds instant parallels, both him and Wood imbuing their compositions with atmospheres that are not quite nostalgic or melancholic but macabre, an element of danger simmering beneath their beguiling layers of pigment.



    Michaël Borremans, What Else Could They Do, 2019
    Courtesy of Zeno X Gallery


    Wood works quickly on her works, prohibiting procrastination and allowing her limitless creative vision to manifest itself as a stream of consciousness. This is not to say that her compositions are superficial or insular, but rather form a narrative where they function as loci for automatic reactions between subject, pigment, and surface. Wood denotes this as such: ‘I only deal in extremes – either doing something almost pathologically quickly or overanalysing to the point of paralysis, not just in the studio but in my day-to-day life.’ ii



    Fading Luxury


    Her practice holds an obsession with texture and surface, their contents and tonalities, recalling the forms of the Dutch Golden Age tradition of pronkstilleven. Like Nicolaes van Vererndael or Abraham van Beijeren, the artist creates opulent phantasms that ooze resplendence yet impermanence, acting as a reminder that not everything is as it seems. Paint becomes an embalming fluid for her seductive pictorial modes – what the noted American critic Barry Schwabsky calls ‘perverted realism’ iii. With the present lot this resplendence is heightened by the use of velvet stretched to form a canvas, allowing the white and creamy palette to be made glorious.


    Abraham van Beijeren, Banquet Still-Life, c. 1660


    An intriguing facet of Wood’s practice is how she sources her material from auction catalogue, an approach that began during her studying at the Royal Academy. Ranging from works by Old Masters to family-heirlooms – items that are very rarely in the public eye and out of private hands – Wood views them more as crucibles for distortion, combining their advertising language and financial condition with her oblique palette and foreboding countenance, creating a juxtaposition between the decorative and the dreadful. In this way the artist takes these objects of desire, refined and symmetrical in their majesty, and grants them essential honesty.



    Collector’s Digest


    Wood has held solo shows at Carlos/Ishikawa, London; X Museum, Beijing; and JTT Gallery, New York. She has also been included in group exhibitions such as Fire Figure Fantasy, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (2022); Artists Inspired by Music: Interscope Reimagined, LACMA (2022); the critically acclaimed Mixing it Up: Painting Today, Hayward Gallery (2021); Must Dream About Blue Tonight, Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing (2020); and The Rest, Lisson Gallery, New York (2019), amongst others.


    Her work has been highly sought after by collections and institutions, and is now held at Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), Miami; Start Museum, Shanghai; X Museum, Beijing; Tate Modern, London; and the Zabludowicz Collection, London.


    The artist was featured as part of ‘The Artsy Vanguard’ in 2020, a prestigious annual feature that selects 20 emerging artists.


    Wood is represented by Carlos/Ishikawa and JTT, and next year will form part of the group exhibition, Brave New World: 20 Painters for the 21st Century, at Museum De Fundatie, Zwolle.


    An established musician, Issy Wood is signed with producer Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records, with her second EP If It’s Any Constellation released earlier this year.



    i Issy Wood, quoted in Artsy artist page, online 
    ii  Issy Wood, quoted in Sarah McCrory, ‘In conversation with Sarah Wood’, Luncheon, 2019
    iii  Barry Schwabsky, ‘Issy Wood’, Artforum, April 2020

    • Provenance

      Carlos/Ishikawa, London
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Dog With Pendants (Not as Close)

oil on velvet
100 x 140 cm. (39 3/8 x 55 1/8 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,200,000 - 1,800,000 

Sold for HK$1,386,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+852 2318 2026

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 22 June 2022