Issy Wood: All The Rage review

Art, Contemporary art Free
4 out of 5 stars
Issy Wood: All The Rage review

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Aliens and celebrities, Egyptian gods and cowboy boots: Issy Wood’s paintings are full of the banal and the surreal, the everyday and the extraordinary. The young British painter’s works are claustrophobic, close-cropped compositions. She zooms right in on car upholstery, painting it on soft, black velvet, so dark it feels like it’s sucking you in. She frames a gun-toting hand among cowboy boots, she gets up close with a brutal dental procedure.

Almond-shaped alien faces stare right out you, Russell Crowe offers up a glass of scotch to cheers you, Joan Rivers peers out of the canvases.

The same figures are painted directly on to old boots and coats – like stumbling on some washed-up Hollywood star’s old closet. The colours are muted and sombre and Wood paints fuzzily, almost pixelatedly, so the works look like stills from an early ’90s video game, like something you’d see on a wall in ‘Wolfenstein 3D’.

The thing that makes it all work so well is the combination of the everyday and the surreal, the boring and the nightmarish. Wood is a little like a gothic Magritte, or Giorgio di Chirico numbed on Prozac. She creates an almost diary-like vision of modern anxieties. Written across these weird little paintings are obsession with celebrity, fears about technology, love worries, etc. I’d only ever seen her paintings in isolation before and always been a little unimpressed, but shown in a group like this they work so much better. It’s the whole gamut of millennial angst coming creepily, softly and inescapably to life.

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