ISSY WOOD (B. 1993)
ISSY WOOD (B. 1993)
ISSY WOOD (B. 1993)
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ISSY WOOD (B. 1993)

Over Armour

ISSY WOOD (B. 1993)
Over Armour
signed and dated ‘issy 2018’ (on the stretcher)
oil on velvet
71 x 55 ¼ in. (180.2 x 140.5 cm.)
Painted in 2018.
Carlos/Ishikawa, London
Private collection
Private collection, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Head of Department

Lot Essay

Towering at nearly six feet tall, Issy Wood’s Over Armour is a formidable union of dichotomies: surreal and real, material and immaterial, object and artwork, it is a larger-than-life trompe l’oeil. In this work Wood presents a quilted leather jacket in full, pressed against the four edges of the picture plane, painted on a cloak of black velvet. Softly smudged, fluttering brushstrokes coax the form into reality. Each quilted panel of the jacket is meticulously toned with shadows and finished with bright white strokes, glinting and gleaming like body armor. Wood often utilizes velvet, transforming everyday objects—jackets, dentures, jewelry, car interiors—into disarming, enticing queries of materiality. From a distance, the leather jacket shines against an unseen light source, but as the viewer slowly approaches, he or she recognizes the unusual velvet surface, toning down the armor’s sheen. The isolated garment recalls the surreal compositional choices of Domenico Gnoli, while the intricately rendered jacket parallels the clothing details of Renaissance portraiture. Regarding composition, Wood recalls, “Well, I’m someone who’s very suspicious of symmetry. Like when you see someone with a perfect face, you just wonder…I wonder!...I suppose I’m questioning how well I know the shapes of these objects, as well, and that strange translation from what I meant to do and what actually happens” (I. Wood, quoted in S. McCrory, “Issy Wood,” Luncheon, no. 8, pp. 64-65).

“Wood often utilizes velvet, transforming everyday objects—jackets, dentures, jewelry, car interiors—into disarming, enticing queries of materiality.”

Born in America, Wood—painter, writer, and musician—moved to London to further her education, graduating from the legendary art school at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015 and the Royal Academy Schools three years later. As her painting career was taking off, Wood was also gaining recognition for her music; she signed with producer Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records in 2019, and, this past May, released her second EP with the label titled If It’s Any Constellation, her sixth in the past two years. On the relationship between her music and painting, the artist states, “’They’re very similar attitudes. I make a lot of paintings and songs very fast, and being in the proverbial zone with each is as close to a meditation practice as I’ll ever get. Both painting and producing music deal with layers, scrapping the parts you don’t want, and happy accidents’” (I. Wood, quoted in N. Rea, “’They’re Very Similar Attitudes’: Artist Issy Wood on Her Double Life as a Painting Sensation and Ascendant Pop Star,” Artnet News, 20 November 2020).

During her studies at the Royal Academy, Wood’s immersed herself in old auction catalogues, fascinated by the glossy presentation of objects that appeared in the public eye for a fleeting moment, building the foundation for her diverse and strangely familiar universe of images. The artist also observed this dynamic on social media, where trends and possessions blipped across bright phone screens, only to be swiped away into the endless scrolling abyss. The materiality of these objects, whether sold on the auction block or through digital advertisements, collides with the physical materiality of Wood’s paintings, immortalizing these ephemeral images of consumer culture within the confines of the velvet canvas.

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