John W Wood

Mixed Media on Paper Mounted on Panel

John Wood’s beautiful abstract imagery is the culmination of a lifetime of work in art. His current work uses the human form and landscape as starting points to build up layers of line, form and color in graphite, crayon, oil pastel and enamel. He strives to be as open and engaged as possible with the developing image, trusting that the art will lead him in the right direction. In the end, the work alludes to the real world only symbolically, but John is much more interested in the emotional and sensual qualities that emerge rather than any recognizable forms.

A large piece of Mr. Wood’s art was recently added to the permanent art collection of the city of Emeryville, California, and it is now on display in Emeryville City Hall. His work is included in the Salt Lake County Art Collection and was recently purchased and added to the Utah State Fine Art Collection. He was invited to exhibit his work at the American Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia through the U.S. State Department’s Art in Embassies Program.

Mr. Wood has spent time in residence at the Morris Graves Foundation in Northern California as well as a solo exhibit at the Morris Graves Museum in Eureka, California. He has also been invited to artist residencies at the Jentel Foundation near Sheridan, Wyoming, the Oakopolis Creativity Center in Oakland, as well as time in Petaluma.

In addition to Desta Gallery, his work is shown with several other galleries and has been acquired by public, corporate and private collectors nationwide.

Mr. Wood began his education in Utah and earned an MFA degree in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He has lived and worked in New York City as well as Florida and Utah before moving to the Bay Area where he has live and painted for more than 20 years.


Traces of emotion. Traces of history. Traces of tenderness. Traces of beauty. Traces of love. My art is non-objective, but this is where it begins, looking for the traces around me, observing the world and examining my inner thoughts.

Currently the work is influenced by the human form, but it often takes clues from the landscape and from floral ideas. I start by just drawing, building up layers of graphite, crayon, oil-pastel and enamel. As the process unfolds, the veils of line, form and color take over and become the focus. I watch for the connections, the visual triggers that tell me to add more here and remove something there.

I find that wonderful things happen when I am able to engage completely with my art. I try to constantly remind myself to trust in the process, knowing that when I am open to an honest dialog with the emerging art, the art will lead me in the right direction.

In the end, my work only alludes to human traces, to bits of what surrounds me. I am much more interested in the emotional and sensual qualities that emerge rather than any recognizable forms.