National Council Summer Series Celebration: Shio Kusaka and Jonas Wood in Conversation with Helen Molesworth
May 22, 2019
Private, off-campus event.
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Shio Kusaka (b. 1972, Morioka, Japan) is a Los Angeles-based artist practicing in the ceramic medium. Kusaka grew up attending her grandmother’s tea ceremonies in Japan, in which she learned to observe vessels closely. After receiving her BFA from the University of Washington, Seattle, she moved to Los Angeles in 2003 and focused on clay specifically. Kusaka merges drawing and sculpture, typically moving between abstraction and representation. She has developed a distinct formal language in her use of shape, pattern, color, and glazing techniques that make reference to Yayoi period Japanese pottery, Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, and the wall drawings of Sol LeWitt alike. As Roberta Smith stated in the New York Times “If the Minimalist painter Agnes Martin had been a potter, she might have made vessels like these.” From grids, dots, and line patterns to the more playful strawberry, watermelon, and dinosaur vessels, Kusaka always shows her hand in the construction of the works.
Kusaka was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Recent museum exhibitions include Shio Kusaka & Jonas Wood, Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, Netherlands (2017); Recent Acquisitions in Asian Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH (2017); Going Public: The Napoleone Collection – International Art Collectors in Sheffield, Graves Gallery, Sheffield, UK (2016), traveled to Touchstones Rochdale Museum, Rochdale, UK; among others.
Jonas Wood (b. 1977, Boston) makes paintings that can be classified as a variety of different genres, including portraiture, still life, landscape and interior scenes. In each of these, however, his work reflects an instantly recognizable vision of the contemporary world, as well as a personal approach to subject matter defined by his affinities and experiences. Its warmth is matched by a quasi-abstract logic that breaks pictures down into layered compositions of geometry, pattern, and color. Wood works at every scale, and maintains active drawing and printmaking practices, each of which helps him generate techniques that he eventually uses in paintings. Conjuring depth using flat forms––his process involves collage-based studies in which he works with various materials to break images apart and reassemble them––Wood probes the boundary between the new and the familiar, integrating emotionally resonant material from everyday life.
Jonas Wood has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Dallas Art Museum (2019); Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar, the Netherlands (with Shio Kusaka, 2017); Lever House, New York (2014); and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2010). Other solo projects include Still Life with Two Owls (MOCA), a monumental picture covering the façade of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2016 – 2018); Shelf Still Life, High Line Billboard, High Line Art, New York (2014); and LAXART Billboard and Façade, LAXART, Los Angeles (2014). His work is included in the permanent collections of many institutions, among them the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Dallas Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Broad Art Foundation, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Wood lives and works in Los Angeles.