Christopher Wood. ‘Collective Imagination’


Chrstopher Wood is an artist who believes in beauty. The vibrant watercolor and lively compositions are designed to uplift. His technique is controlled, leaving room for negative space and his draftsmanship to show through. Wood enjoys both the precision and the permanence of watercolor – the transparency of the paint leaves all layers and marks underneath visible.

Each piece is based around a general idea, but Wood doesn’t want to know the entire composition before hand. Rather, he works by responding to each new gesture as it comes, allowing imagination and improvisation to direct the piece. Wood takes aspects of life drawing, of reacting to what is presented in the moment, and uses this approach to create these pieces. His approach brings an element of surprise and discovery to what is otherwise perhaps familiar content.

The Palace references this approach borrowed from life drawing. The space depicted is that of a life drawing studio, replete with a stand, models, and props. Some pose, some relax, and one conspicuously appears to gaze off above the viewer’s head into some other realm.

Samurai Song seems to depict a scene out of Japanese folklore, something that after decades of cross-cultural exchange in pop culture feels familiar to American sensibilities. The piece is instantly digestible, but a prolonged look reveals individualized characters and the sense that things are perhaps not as they appear – note the black cat glaring back over its shoulder at the approaching samurai.

The Lord depicts Biblical scenes and symbols interspersed with hand gestures. The composition radiates out from a circle of protected negative space, developing several motifs including hands, birds, butterflies, fruits and flowers. Again it is the unexpected details that keep the piece from falling into too familiar territory.

The most subdued of the works, Ghost Town begins as a formal comparison of Mayan and Roman sculpture, and ends up as a mixture of iconography from Classical European, indigenous Central American, and traditions of the American West.

These are worlds steeped in fairy tale, history, and myth; but not worlds into which we can easily fall.

-David Edward Martin

Christopher Wood was born in Fountain Valley, California. He currently lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia.