All The Rage


All The Rage is the largest solo exhibition to date by artist Issy Wood (b.1993, USA). Occupying four of Goldsmiths CCA’s gallery spaces allows Wood to present a broad selection of paintings grouped to articulate the interconnections and preoccupations of her practice.

Wood’s paintings find comfort in the uncomfortable, and vice versa. Uncannily familiar yet entirely strange, they are both painterly in an impressionist style and subtle imposters in their anachronism. Depicting contemporary ephemera such as mobile phones and car interiors, she impulsively renders apparently unconnected subject matter on lush velvet or discarded items of clothing, mimicking the non-sequiturs of social media. These works indicate an obsessive relationship to commodities, both treasured and discarded, inherited or stolen, gathered from the pages of auction catalogues, or snapshots from her on and offline surroundings.

Palpable throughout the work is Wood’s negotiation of her personal life through her relationship to objects and figures, such as Joan Rivers’ auctioned jewellery and Rivers herself, which she invests with fetishistic and sometimes tragic symbolism. The patterns of thematic repetition in her body of work perform a pathological, even medical, excavation; or perhaps an attempt to exorcise their seductive appeal, treading the fine line between advert and pervert.

The resulting vision is a mournful one, rendered in a muted palette, and compositionally disquieting, with implausible perspectives, crushed distances and a certain claustrophobia – we never see a sky line or a full body. Here and there, faces might emerge from inert forms, or incongruous objects jar in the pictorial frame, lacing Wood’s work with a neurotic and hallucinogenic humour.

With All The Rage (a phrase which simultaneously suggests both unrelenting anger and a nod to what it is to be concerned with fashion) Wood offers a dysmorphic take on objects we think we know the shape of. In isolation, her depictions of aliens, dogs, or leather cloaked women might confound, but as a visual vernacular they begin to reveal (often falling just short of revealing) a specific relationship to objects and ideas as being proxies for her lived experiences and social realities; be it the trappings of ‘femininity’, residual angst, or technological alienation. Though intensely personal, her works investigate a universal mode of identity formation through which we no longer know where projection upon bodies and objects around us ends and material reality begins.

Wood’s writing has maintained its diaristic blog-form since her early teens, the results of which are presented accompanying All The Rage, as a publication of the same name.

Issy Wood graduated from RA Schools, London (2018), and studied BA Fine Art & History of Art, Goldsmiths (2015). Upcoming exhibitions include JTT, New York (2019) and a group exhibition Paint Also Known as Blood, MoMA, Warsaw (2019). She has previously exhibited at D.E.L.F, Vienna (2018), Carlos/Ishikawa, London (2017). Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Zabludowicz Collection, London; Lisson Gallery, London; S12, London; Mendes Wood, Brussels; Société, Berlin; Tate St Ives, UK; White Cube, London; amongst others.

Issy Wood, All the rage 12019. Courtesy of the artist and Carlos/Ishikawa, London.
Issy Wood, untitled, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Carlos/Ishikawa, London.
Issy Wood, untitled, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Carlos/Ishikawa, London.

IMAGE CREDITS 4-5: Installation view. Photo © Mark Blower