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Paintings and Custom Wallpaper by Jonas Wood at the DMA
Paintings and Custom Wallpaper by Jonas Wood at the DMA

A major exhibition by painter Jonas Wood is at the DMA through July 14, on view at its Hoffman Galleries.

Calais Drive by Jonas Wood: man in bathing suit seen through window beside a pool.
Image: Jonas Wood, Calais Drive, 2012, oil and acrylic on canvas

It's a large show, with mainly oversized paintings that that convey and inspire intimacy between the artist and his subjects, and then the audience and the exhibited work.

“It’s charged in that way – in that it’s close to me. Intimacy is the picture plane, the history of painting, the viewer who is seeing something they’ve never seen before.” - Jonas Wood via Arts and Culture Texas.

Portrait of a man and portrat of a woman at the Dallas Museum of Art. Artist: Jonas Wood.
Portraits by Jonas Wood, in the Hoffman Galleries at the DMA.

We usually take at least two circuits through an exhibition, one to document in photographs for this platform, and additional passes to just take it all in. This exhibition instantly felt exciting and new, and we stayed with the paintings for a while, finding a new detail or artistic element to focus on with each experience. We first noticed the interesting color combinations and patterns (including circles, stripes, wood grain and even tennis balls) that Wood chose, then the subject matter he captured, then the juxtaposition of how he put it all put together.

Barn in snowy woods by painter Jonas Wood at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Image: Jonas Wood, Snowscape with Barn, 2017, oil and acrylic on canvas.

Detail shot of Snowscape with Barn.
Detail Shot: Snowscape with Barn by Jonas Wood.

Wood has said he paints from photographs, and that comes through in his style, which is flat and geometric, almost giving it a collage or paper cut effect. Each shape is distinct, as are the pattern-on-pattern elements that are a uniting feature in all of the exhibited works. While in some ways his work reminded me of other artists I've seen recently, it would be easily recognizable to me after seeing it once.

Portrait of woman and cat by painter Jonas Wood.
Image: Jonas Wood Robin with Phoebe 2008. Gouache and colored pencil on paper.

Detail shot of calico cat.
Detail Shot: Robin with Phoebe by Jonas Wood.

This is Wood's first major exhibition - approximately 30 pieces in all - and we are lucky that Dallas is where that milestone took place. His star is rising (he occupies a top spot among his generational and genre peers on ArtNet's Intelligence Report and sold work worth millions in 2018.) When we visited, there were people of all ages and walks of life in the gallery, from older people to children in paper bunny ears (it was the museum's family day!) While each visitor's experience is always unique and special to them, everyone seemed to be genuinely into the work, which is not always the case. Amazingly, the show is free to the public, and I highly recommend that you go check it out. Odds are, you'll be into it too.

Photographs by James Khattak. Available for use, just credit us and let us know!


NorthPark Center: This world-class shopping center is also an art museum. It's filled with priceless art displayed in a publicly-accessible way, free for anyone who visits to experience. Highlights include "Clean Slate," by KAWS; "Large, Leaping Hare," by Barry Flanagan, "This Land is Your Land," by Iván Navarro, and "Flowers" by Andy Warhol. Northpark also hosts temporary exhibitions, and complimentary art tours are available by request through the concierge.

Downtown Dallas: Main Street: With Forty Five Ten, Neiman Marcus, curated shops in The Joule and The Adolphus hotels, this stretch of downtown pairs perfectly with a pre-or post-Fair vibe. Don't forget to check out "Eye," by Tony Tasset, in the greenspace next to Forty Five Ten, art books at The Taschen Library, and the curated art on display at the French Room Salon at The Adolphus.

Bishop Arts District: Neighborhood is great for affordable original and local art and unique products, and longtime favorite We Are 1976 has a wide selection of prints from independent artists. Art fair have you feeling inspired? Check out Oil & Cotton for supplies.

Coffee & Bites:

Weekend Coffee and Otto's (try the Liege Waffle!) are perfectly positioned and art-fair adjacent. If you want to see some awesome murals, head over to Deep Ellum and while you're there, refuel at Mokah, Merit Coffee or Murray Street. (FYI: Mokah shows art in its Umbrella Gallery, and also has a great reputation for supporting nonprofits!)

In Bishop Arts, enjoy coffee and small plates at the hybrid bookstore/bar/community hub The Wild Detectives, and if you're checking out Design District galleries, Ascension is a great place to refuel, people-watch and plan your next stop.

If you're looking for a little respite from the concrete jungle, head to north Dallas to see nature-inspired art and dine among the plants at the North Haven Gardens Cafe and Art Gallery.


If the art fair isn't enough art for you (we get it!) or if you're looking to check out a wider selection of more independent and diverse artists, you're in luck. Dallas' art scene is thriving, and other interesting art communities are just a short drive away.

Call for a tour, and visit The Cedars Union to learn about the Dallas art scene and see its resident artists in action. The Cedars is an up-and-coming area for artists; don't miss its neighborhood galleries like Ro2 Art and The MAC.

The Dallas Design District is home to the Dallas Contemporary, PDNB Gallery, and nearly wall-to-wall galleries along Dragon Street.

The Museum of Street Culture is an interesting and relatively new space that not only showcases art based on street culture by diverse and historically under-served artists, but actively engages street artists and people experiencing homelessness in museum operations and ongoing public programs.

Looking for a quiet, art-filled space to contemplate? The J. Erik Jonsson Central Library downtown exhibitions include Robert Rauschenberg's Star Quartet Serigraphs, Harry Bertoia's "Textured Screen," and Barbara Hepworth's "Square Forms with Circles."

If you have a free day and access to a car, Denton and Waxahachie are worth a visit, particularly Waxahachie's Webb Gallery, which focuses on outsider and folk art. (Weekends only, FYI.) And don't forget Fort Worth! It's not as far away as one would assume, and it's always worth the trip.

There are so many art and arts-adjacent places and spaces in Dallas, that I know I am leaving some out. It really is an awesome city to explore through an artistic lens, and support local and independent artists while you're there.

Berthe Morisot's Young Girl With Vase

"Young Girl With Vase," Berthe Morisot, 1889.

As in the DMA's earlier exhibition by a woman artist, "Ida O'Keeffe, Escaping Georgia's Shadow", it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite piece in this show. I was overcome with a feeling of "where has this been all my life?" and "why am I just now seeing it?" although I know the answer to both of those questions.

Like many woman artists, French Impressionist Berthe Morisot isn't nearly as well known as she should be. But a major showcase at the Dallas Museum of Art shines a spotlight on her work and story, exposing her to modern audiences. Is it a little late? Yes. She should be as well known as Monet, Degas, Renoir and her other contemporaries. She created art in a different era, and while she had critical acclaim in her lifetime, in general that timing didn't work in her favor. But audiences are seeing her now, and finding in her an artist whose work is just as distinctive and interesting as others in the movement that she co-founded, and infused with her own individual gifts.

"Through her portrayal of the human figure, Morisot was able to explore the themes of modern life that came to define Impressionism, such as the intimacy of contemporary bourgeois living and leisure activities, the importance of female fashion and the toilette, and women’s domestic work, all while blurring the lines between interior and exterior, public and private, finished and unfinished. " - DMA Press Release

There is a dreamy, gestural, sketched quality to Morisot's work, yet the details don't get lost. The edges of her figures are soft, but viewers still get a clear sense of the subject matter and the captured nuance of the scene. As in other Impressionist art, the broken color effect blends so perfectly at a distance, and complement each other just as well, giving the work a unique depth and interest, on closer look.

Winter by Berthe Morisot, Figure in Green jacket 1889

Detail of "Winter," by Berthe Morisot, 1880.

One thing that stood out to me was that the women in these pieces were not "posed." Many times, they seemed to be caught in the middle of doing something much more important than posing for a portrait. (And what busy woman can't relate? "Pose for a painting? Who has time? Ok, fine - just paint it fast." ) They are also rarely smiling; their facial expressions are natural and authentic. Despite the loose, Impressionist style, Morisot has captured something about women of all ages that is quite real and timeless.

"The Mandolin," Berthe Morisot. 1889.

Although it was hard to choose a favorite piece, I did. It was a "no photos" piece, but I found an image online : "Girl in a Green Coat," 1894. I love everything about it, the green shade of the coat against the softer colors in the piece, the shimmering, iridescent quality of the lighter fabric of the dress, and the fact that this young lady could step off the canvas and walk down any street today and fit right in. In 2019, more than 100 years after the subject existed, I both love the painting and covet that coat.

The saying "better late than never" springs to mind, but seems like a flip and inarticulate way to describe Morisot's work and story, so I'm trying to phrase it better. I wish things had been different for her and the countless women like her who aren't being discovered and rediscovered. I'm sad for the "nevers" whose work we are missing out on altogether. With that said, I do feel that the DMA is a museum that is trying to level that out a bit, which is good. The O'Keeffe exhibition was also a showstopper, and I appreciate that the DMA has scheduled a good deal of extra programming around these historically under-promoted women artists. Hopefully, this means that future Morisots and O'Keeffes can more easily claim their place in the canon in real time, and stay there.

Berthe Morisot, Woman Impressionist is on view at the DMA through May 26, 2019. Several special lectures are planned through its run. I'm particularly interested in "Fashion and Art in Impressionist Paris" which will take place at 7 p.m. April 25. The Dallas Museum of Art is located at 1717 N. Harwood in the Dallas Arts District, and tickets start at $12.

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