Issy Wood’s paintings and sculptures carry a peculiar cultural charge, moments of collision and fusion that mark her objects with both the signifiers of the art historical and with the banal moments of daily life. For her current show, daughterproof at JTT in New York, the artist continues this process, putting forward a selection of works that seem to mark the passage of culture and time against the body itself.
The artist’s work in the show is an enigmatic fusion of images and concepts. Pieces are hyperloaded with graphical energy, while others rely on a simple, charming cultural juxtaposition to achieve similar effects. In one piece, Women crying with weighing scales (2019) for instance, her unique incorporation of pointillist techniques lends a packed picture plane a distinct sense of critical distance and shadow over an already surreal scene. The work mines both melodrama and commodity form, equally at home as a sort of demonic shopping advertisement and as an aesthetic experiment, particularly recalling the work of Sigmar Polke. In Slouching towards the maxillofacial unit (2018), by contrast, the image draws on a moment of express calm, depicting a dentist’s tooth model adorned with two rows of braces. Time and form seems to unravel in this piece, the still-life itself used as a form that represents a distinct connection with the human body, but which never delves directly into the presentation of the body. Rather than explore the realism of the painted image as a ruler against reality, Wood embraces a model, and the correction system meant to bring the real into line with the ideal.
Issy Wood, Women crying with weighing scales (2019), via JTT
Other works seem to work at incisive junctures of image and material. In Study for good will 2 (2019), for instance, the artist has executed a nude portrait across the side of a boot, a work that seems to both place the human form as a decorative element, and nods to the increasing presence of the world of contemporary art as a backdrop for the presentation of high fashion. This mode reappears several times throughout the show, with jeans, jackets and other articles of clothing hung throughout the gallery. Such an engagement, when taken with the rest of the works on view, conjures a portrait of the world explicitly engaged with both representation and replication, one where the ideal of the body, and its corollaries in the world of objects, must forever contend, and never fully connect.
The show closes February 9th.
— D. Creahan
Issy Wood: daughterproof [Exhibition Site]