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Jonas Wood (b. 1977)
Jonas Wood (b. 1977)

Tape Still Life

Details
Jonas Wood (b. 1977)
Tape Still Life
signed, titled and dated 'TAPE STILL LIFE JBRW 2008' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
38 x 40 in. (96.5 x 101.6 cm.)
Painted in 2008.
Provenance
Private collection, Florida

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Isabella Lauria
Isabella Lauria

Lot Essay

"[The paintings] are images that I realize, after a long time of looking and thinking about them, resonate with me. They might remind me of something, bring me back to some place." - Jonas Wood

An artist best known for his jam-packed and vibrant interiors, the sharp focus and sophisticated color palette of Tape Still Life is a masterful academic nod to historical still life painting, freshly reinterpreted here with Wood’s signature graphic flourish. The carefully stacked rings of tape, delicately balanced one on top of one another with a lightness that suggests a breeze could topple them, is grounded by the cool greys of the table and backing wall, as well as the deftly demarcated horizon line. A desolate plant, from which few dark flowers spring, gives the arrangement height and strength, its straggling roots run amok above the confines of the pot. The table is awash with shadows, from wide periwinkle swathes to darker fractured shadows that fall across the tape rings and plant pot, displacing the source of light situated outside of the canvas. The artist deliberately chose a composition that focuses tightly on the objects, at once bringing the viewer into this quiet corner, and the surrounding world disappears.
The careful rendering of a group of everyday objects celebrates Wood's skill at affording each object importance through color and ornament. His process usually involves working from collages of photographs, an interlaying and reassembling of images that inspires his embellished surfaces. The dazzling texture he is best known for is shown here with remarkable sophistication. The inner ring of the tape, painted to suggest the logos of a nameless tape company, is a masterful detail to the reality of the scene. More prominently, the rendering of ‘Scotch’ and ‘Duct’ in the artist’s hand incorporate text into the image, rarely used by Wood only to ground a scene. Here, the words become almost pattern-like in themselves, the layering the of inner ring ‘Scotch’ with the outer ring ‘Scotch’ and ‘Duct’ collapsing the perspective to bring the inner ring outside. The depth afforded by the striated magenta bobbin and gridding on other tape rings celebrate the artists’ sensitivity in creating the image, and showcases a rare movement away from his trademark flat style. Tape Still Life is a marvelous fusion of traditional still life painting and Jonas Wood’s signature handling of pattern and texture. The negation of the background sharply focuses the objects, a grouping of tape rolls, in a manner most associated with still life works of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly the palette of master still life painter Giorgio Morandi. The artist’s own close studying of art history underpins his practice: “Matisse, Picasso, Braque, Calder, Monet, Vuillard, Bonnard, van Gogh, Stuart Davis, and Hockney have all been very real influences to me. When I was a young child, my family would speak about these artists as examples of greatness in painting. I guess even then I took them seriously because these are the artists I ended up fashioning my studio practice after” (J. Wood, quoted in E. Tovey, “Jonas Wood”, Dossier Journal, April 3, 2012, online).

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