Brian Wood is a painter working with multiple media in New York City and East Chatham, NY. His paintings, drawings, photographs, prints, films, and books are exhibited internationally and are held in many private and public collections. Wood is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Museum, Ludwig, Cologne; LA County Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Art Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario; Davis Museum, Wellesley; Tampa Museum of Art; Asheville Art Museum, NC; Montreal Museum of Fine Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal; Museum of Modern Art in Prague; and many others. Wood’s awards include the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, finalist for the Rome Prize in 2019, the NEA Fellowship, the NYFA Grant, and numerous Canada Council Grants.
The limits of consciousness and motility of body-form hold a particular fascination for Wood and it is likely that the obsessions in his work derive from the earliest phase of life before language and before self—the “chora” in Julia Kristeva’s description, when instinctual drives, locality, suffering and pleasure, aggression, holding, repulsion, devouring and expelling merge in a timeless non-reflective realm. The pre-lingual lack of separation and the undifferentiated void of the infant’s world quickly give way to our necessary experience of difference, boundaries, self-awareness, language, and time. However, something of that early experience remains. As Holland Cotter wrote in his New York Times review of Wood’s 2014 solo show Enceinte: “…[Wood] creates a kind of Symbolist world in which emerging into life and being devoured by it are part of the same inexorable process. As in the early work by Georgia O’Keeffe and Arthur Dove, the erotic and the spiritual are of a piece.” Wood’s early imaginative experience was formed in northern Saskatchewan’s harsh land, severe weather, and the life and death cycles of animals, crops, and wilderness. Wood’s childhood on the farm, his absorption in nature, books, music, and his later studies in physics and mathematics combine with his fascination to the shifting boundaries of body, sexuality, and awareness itself. From these inquiries, his attentive participation with arising inner images and perception, and his sense that the conventional separation of inner and outer worlds is actually an illusion, come the form and obsessions of his work.