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

Kinkstarter

Details
ISSY WOOD (B. 1993)
Kinkstarter
oil on velvet
71 x 114 3⁄8 in. (180.2 x 290.5 cm.)
Painted in 2020.
Provenance
Carlos/Ishikawa Gallery, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Brought to you by

Ana Maria Celis
Ana Maria Celis Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Head of 21st Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Issy Wood’s Kinkstarter is a work that is at once surreal and real, material and immaterial, object and artwork, all painted on an epic scale. Pictured close-up are fragments of two leather jackets, the folds of material catching the light as it bounces off their shiny surfaces. The bifurcated support is made up two pieces of luxurious velvet stitched together with an imposing, defined seam that horizontally cuts through the canvas; Wood’s work sits somewhere between art and life, her technique tactile and her eye uniquely perceptive.

Absent of an obvious narrative subject, Wood’s intimately cropped jackets act as empty shells, becoming the subjects themselves. These isolated garments are reminiscent of Domenico Gnoli’s meticulously sumptuous still-lifes, the details of both Wood’s and Gnoli’s akin to that of exacting detail of Renaissance portraiture. Wood’s delicate use of quick brushstrokes equips the velvet canvas with a blurred illusion of materiality, placing the audience between the surreal and the real. What is at once a fantastically conjured leather jacket is simultaneously a painted canvas, bound to reality by the contradictory texture of the velvet. With her quick hand, Wood coaxes form and materiality into existence, yet that existence is complicated as Wood pushes and pulls these leather coats in and out of reality. The leather is toned, shaded effortlessly, with the glimmering white highlights transforming the velvet into a glinting smooth leather.

Wood provides the audience with no allegorical or thematic outlet to draw them into Kinkstarter, rather asserting her canvas to be read through its intentional cropping and materiality. The bold contrast between the two split coats is perhaps a play between the masculine and feminine; or perhaps it is a study of expression, a play between tempered conservatism and empowered liberation. The black leather is composed, its construction regimented and orderly. There is an evenness to the way in which Wood has distributed light across the creases of the leather, which are militarily vertical. The red leather coat, however, is seductive, its creases draping with an ease and sensuality. The flap of this coat lays open, freeing the bottom half of the canvas from the bounded armor on the top.

Born in America – painter, writer, and musician – Wood moved to London to further her education, graduating from the art school at Goldsmiths, University of London in 2015 and the Royal Academy Schools in 2018. Wood often turns to the luxurious richness of velvet as the ‘canvas’ for her paintings, transforming everyday objects – dental braces, jewelry, car interiors, and here, jackets – into provocative and enticing queries of materiality. During her studies at the Royal Academy, Wood became entranced by the glossy pages of old auction catalogues, perusing them often, fascinated by the sheer volume of property that is brought in and out of the public’s attention. She, too, noticed the overwhelmingly fleeting nature of content in today’s social media; the influx of images that dance on and off of the screen is the product of mass consumerism and the demand for the oversaturation of content. This enigma of the contemporary age is at the foundation of Wood’s diverse and strangely familiar universe of images.

Catapulted into popularity amongst art collectors, dealers and enthusiasts alike, Wood has also built a name for herself in the music industry. Signed by Mark Ronson’s Zelig Records in 2019, Wood’s career as a musician is most recently landmarked by the release of her single track “Disaster/Lucky,” her seventh release in the past three years. On the relationship between her music and art, Wood reflects on the automatism of her artistry. Both, she says, come to her with an immediacy and urgency to be created, each song and canvas acting as a meditation on her stream of consciousness. Wood paints and produces prolifically, her work consistently eccentric and consciously contemporary. Kinkstarter is a testament to this, its juxtapositions of leather and velvet, composure and emotion, the real and the dream pushing and pulling the audience between fleeting moments of Wood’s universe.

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