Jonas Wood at Anton Kern Gallery

Installation of Jonas Wood’s works-on-paper in the back room of Anton Kern Gallery

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The disparity in quality that can accrue from a shift in materials and support can be dramatic–take a look at Egon Schiele. Incapable of translating into oil-on-canvas the electricity he generated with pencil-on-paper, Schiele was a cack-hand at painting. The same is true, albeit to a less extreme and, for that matter, epochal degree, of Jonas Wood, whose work is on display at Anton Kern Gallery.

The canvases ringing the main gallery–biggish, Hockney-esque things rooted in domesticity and powered by brittle, deadpan smarts–are impressive from a distance. Get up close and you’ll rue Wood’s lugubrious, by-the-numbers surfaces. Not so the pictures of interiors in Kern’s back room, wherein gouache, pencil and paper admit a lightness of touch and something resembling heart into Wood’s vertiginous ruminations on bourgeois comfort and modernist decor.

© 2011 Mario Naves

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