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  • Provenance

    Anton Kern Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, New York
    Private Collection, Europe

  • Exhibited

    Los Angeles, Hammer Museum, Hammer Project: Jonas Wood, 5 February - 9 May 2010, pp. 18-19 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Rhythmic circular and bold geometric rectilinear forms align on the intensely coloured plane of Untitled (Red and Black), containing Jonas Wood’s most popular subject matter, the plant. A means for painting from life, for Wood plants are a tool through which he asserts his own language. Celebrated for his simplified treatment of everyday scenarios, Wood has mastered the presentation of reality with a surreally flattened perspective. Taking liberties with compressed graphic forms, suggestive of the subject matter, the textures and bold shapes emphasise the illusion of distorted space.

    Less realist in colour and form, the present example of Wood's favoured subject matter recalls the geometric superiority of Kazimir Malevich. Malevich who moved away from the solitary use of the square, was attracted to the dynamism of rectangles and circles. Similarly, fellow abstract pioneer Wassily Kandinsky heralded the special importance of the triangle in his 1912 book Concerning the Spiritual in Art. All essential elements in the study of alchemy, the circle, triangle and square come together in Untitled (Red and Black) to form the flattened perspective of a simple yet elegant plant. Here the viewer is confronted by a seemingly level plane; dimensions and perspective are superfluous to the illusionary composition. Stark colours and a limited palette, shared by Suprematist purity, leave the strong silhouettes of Untitled (Red and Black) immovable at the centre of the composition.

    With the title referencing colour over subject matter, Wood highlights the importance of form and colour over his beloved and often revisited subject matter. Exhibited alongside a series of other superbly minimalist plant works in 2010 at Hammer Projects, the present work serves as a prism of the artist’s memory, a visual diary of lasting impressions. Casting an illusionary perspective across the plane, the realistic subject matter is objectified. Wood preserves the beauty of the unassuming horticultural subject matter, combining modernist abstraction with realistic figuration. Through his partially abstract rendering of subjects, Wood’s montage-based subject is left uncompromised. Simpler in form than his other more realistic plant and supremely abstract, the still life evokes nostalgia, elevating the viewer to a realm of pure interior scenery.

  • Artist Biography

    Jonas Wood

    American • 1977

    Boston-born, Los Angeles-based artist Jonas Wood is best known for his colorful, semi-abstract interior scenes and still-lifes. Both in style and subject matter, Wood evokes the work of his predecessors Henri Matisse, Alex Katz and David Hockney. The artist is known to produce paintings, prints, collages and even sculptures with the help of his wife, ceramicist Shio Kusaka. 

    One of Wood’s more distinctive motifs is his repeated use of flattened vase-like forms, often featuring self-contained narratives against a more neutral background. The artist received his MFA from the University of Washington in 2002, and his work can be found in the collections of major museums such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney and the Guggenheim.

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Untitled (Red and Black)

signed with the artist's initials, titled and dated 'JBRW "UNTITLED (RED AND BLACK)" 2009' on the reverse
oil on linen
167.6 x 109.2 cm. (66 x 43 in.)
Painted in 2009.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £137,000

Contact Specialist
Henry Highley
Specialist, Head of Evening Sale
+ 44 20 7318 4061 [email protected]

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 29 June 2017