Jody Wood

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Artist Statement

I am intrigued by interpersonal relationships – how they form, how they dissolve, and their delicate underpinnings. I approach my artwork as an opportunity to explore this fascination, and consequently have moved increasingly toward working directly with members of the public. Through my continuing investigation of private needs and public expectations, my work presents a dialogue between the external struggles we must face and the internal landscape we need to preserve.

For the past seven years, my creative practice has primarily been concerned with examining social support systems and lack thereof during transitional moments such as death, trauma, aging, and loss. I believe that the dynamic impact of these disruptive moments is aggravated and made violent by a peculiar cultural reaction to isolate those who suffer. What we value as a society too often excludes so much and so many. By rethinking social structures surrounding trauma in everyday life, my work aims to examine, ritualize, and bring value to the multifaceted moments of transition in an individual’s life. Because I feel face-to-face contact is lacking in contemporary American society, my work literally attempts to bridge that gap, and I increasingly work one-on-one with members of my community to involve public participation and dialogue as a way of meaningfully interpreting these issues.

I’m particularly interested in the effects of social isolation on identity. In Beauty in Transition (Embed Video 1, Portfolio Image 02), I established a mobile hair salon providing beauty services including a hair wash, cut, color and/or style service to willing participants living in homeless shelters. The project has traveled to transitional housing locations throughout the cities of Denver, Colorado, New York City, Philadelphia, and Reading PA. Because homelessness entrenches people in a daily struggle for survival, where a set number of basic needs are negotiated (food, shelter, clothing), I am interested in exploring how identity and agency recedes under a narrowing structure—and how this process can be resisted, or reversed. Beauty in Transition provides a cosmetic service. While this gesture may seem superfluous, providing access to something extra, something beyond necessity, is an act geared toward re-accessing parts of identity that have been pushed aside or forgotten. This ‘nonessential’ service has the potential to amplify and transform, however temporarily, people’s lives. Rather than increased invisibility behind the institutional doors of a shelter, this project considers increased visibility through reclaimed authorship to one’s self-image, while breaking long-standing and pervasive social barriers of touch that stigmatize someone who has become homeless.

My own background involved growing up the child of a mortician. As death was an everyday conversation in my childhood, I was jarred by the cultural taboo of death I faced outside my home. Although I am far from accepting the finality of death personally, I was disturbed to discover some people’s level of discomfort discussing and being present with death. At times my work deals directly with the taboo of death as an attempt to understand the temporality of life and process the metaphoric deaths we experience during transitional changes.

In Preparing for Consumption (Embed Video 2), I spent several months interviewing couples in long-term relationships about the possibility of preparing for their partner’s eventual death. For a performance at Rivington Design House Gallery in NYC, I worked with eight actors to stage a formal dinner in slow speed in front of a picture window facing the street. Audio interviews from the couples were projected into the public space outside the gallery, and the audience was invited to enter and exit the gallery throughout the performance. The work contrasted social preparations and rituals surrounding communal eating with emotional preparations for processing the loss of a significant relationship, and the rituals associated with death.

For Spoken Stage (Embed Video 3, Portfolio image 04), a community-based art project in Seoul, South Korea, I shifted focus from preparing for others’ deaths to how we prepare for own death, and cultural contexts that come into play. Working with members of the Senior Welfare Center of Seoul and artist So Yeon Park, I launched a 12-week workshop that used poetry and performance to delve into issues of death, loss, and discovering new purpose regarding functionality of the body, and roles in family and society. Participants ages 65-95 wrote and performed poetry-based narratives collaboratively and individually at site-specific performances staged throughout the city of Seoul. The performances were semi-private and took place in a private home, a community center, and the Senior Welfare Center of Seoul and were screened at Seoul Art Space Geumcheon.

Based in the elastic material of relationships, communal experience, public intervention, and video, I create work that vacillates between long-term, community-based Social Practice Art, and performance and video work. Although my role shifts between facilitator, performer, and director, common to all the work is a desire to deal with the social preparations and rituals surrounding transitional moments, alongside the structure of interpersonal relationships.


CV /


2012 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison, ME

2009 M.F.A. University of Kansas, Fine Art/ Expanded Media (with Honors)

2002 B.A. Seattle Pacific University, English Literature


2015 Mingled Bodies, Vanity Projects, NYC. Curated by Jovana Stokic

2015 Beauty in Transition, city-wide art project, Philadelphia, PA

2015 In Search of One City, The Old Stone House Interpretive Center, Brooklyn, NY. Curated by Katherine Gressel

2015 Moynihan Station Jobs and Opportunities, Spring/Break Art Fair, NYC.

2015 Video Screening in Jessica Segalʼs “Flutteries or A Feeling of Impending Doom” installation, Time Equities Building, NYC

2015 Faculty Show, Fingesten Gallery, Pace University, NYC

2014 Episodes of Violence, Fourth Wall, Vox Populi, Philadelphia, PA (solo)

2014 Maspeth World of Wheels, Knockdown Center, Queens, NY.

2014 Out to See, South Street Seaport, NYC. Curated by Sarah Reinsman

2014 Think of Yr Future, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, NY

2014 Everything and Nothing, Spazio 522, part of West Chelsea Open Studios, NYC

2014 Meat Cleavers and Screen Savers, Kunsthalle Galapagos Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

2014 Beauty in Transition, city-wide art project, NYC

2013 Jody Wood VideoArt Screening, Fitness Center for Arts and Tactics, Brooklyn, NY

2013 Vienna Project: Hair Code, Vienna, Austria. Curated by Ildiko Meny

2013 Not Exactly: Between Home and Where I find Myself, RedLine, Denver, CO

2013 5th International Video Art Festival, Museo San Juan de Dios, Camaguey, Cuba

2013 Homelessness and Home, Online exhibit, University of Oregon Philosophy Department

2013 Cyber Monday Video Screening, Recession Art, Brooklyn, NY

2013 Duplicitous Lives: Scene I, Recession Art, Brooklyn, NY

2013 Do It (Outside), Socrates Sculpture Park, NYC. Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist

2013 Evening Tastes Like the Middle of a Cupcake, El Museo del Barrio, (collaboration with Jessica Segal and Eric Ramos Guerrero) NYC

2013 Accidents of an Illusionist, Governor’s Island, NYC

2012 Film & Video Series, Foundry for Art, Design, & Culture, Cohes NY

2012 Catskill Film and Video Festival, Catskill Community Theatre (Winner: People’s Choice for best Video/Performance Art), Catskill, NY

2012 Play Panopticon, PS1333 Gallery Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, Seoul, Korea

2012 Spoken Stage, The Senior Welfare Center of Seoul, Seoul, South Korea

2012 Spoken Stage, Temporary Space Artist Residency, Seoul, South Korea

2012 Spoken Stage, One Circle Community Theatre, Seoul, South Korea

2012 Preparing for Consumption, Rivington Design House Gallery, NYC

2011 Anomalous Warmth, 319 Scholes Space, Brooklyn, NY (2-person with Mikel Durlam)

2011 The Process of Performance, Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown, Sydney, AU

2011 Letting Go: site-specific performance and video festival, Rogue Art, Newark, NJ

2010 Video Work by Jody Wood, Gallery III, Soho20 Gallery Chelsea, NYC (solo)

2010 Supergirl!, NEXUS/Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA

2010 Seize/duplicate\repeat, Savoir Faire Performance Art Series, Soho20 Gallery Chelsea, NYC (2-person with Mikel Durlam)

2009 In For the Kill, Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA

2009 Support Systems: MFA Thesis Exhibition, Art & Design Gallery, Lawrence, KS (solo)

2009 Faculty Show, Lawrence Art Center, Lawrence, KS

2009 Boxing Gloves and Bustiers, Soho20 Gallery Chelsea, NYC. Juried by Kate Gilmore

2008 Sever and Repair, Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS


2015 Pearl Street Micro-Project Award, Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia, PA

2015 2015 Honored Artist, Artist Volunteer Center, NYC

2014 Juryʼs Pick First Place, Maspeth World of Wheels Exhibit, Knockdown Center, Queens

2014 Brooklyn Arts Council Local Arts Support Grant, Brooklyn, NY

2014 Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Fund Grant, Brooklyn, NY

2013 Project Commission, RedLine, Denver, CO

2012 Audience Choice Award, Best Video Art, Catskill Film and Video Festival

2012 Artist Selection Project Award, Seoul Art Space Geumcheon, South Korea

2008 Public Art Fund Award, Multidisciplinary Research Building, Lawrence, KS

2008 Funding stipend, Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS

2006 Full Tuition Waver, Merit Scholarship Award, University of Kansas


2014-15 Socially Engaged Art Fellowship, One-year Fellowship at A Blade of Grass, NYC

2015 Visual Artist Network Exhibition Residency Award, Philadelphia, PA

2015 Creative Residency Program, Art in the Fields, New Jerusalem, PA

2013 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council: Swing Space Residency, NYC

2013 In-Site: b(ART)er Collective Residency, Denver, Co

2012 Seoul Art Space Geumcheon International Artist Residency, Seoul, South Korea

2012 DMZ International Peace Art Residency, Seokjang-ri Art Museum, DMZ, Korea

2011 Culture Push: Genesis Project Residency, Brooklyn, NY

2004 Emerging Artist in Residence Scholarship in Sculpture, Pratt Fine Arts, Seattle, WA


NBC: Televised coverage of Beauty in Transition in Philadelphia. Aired on NBC Philadelphia Channel 10, 6/23/15

Fox News: Televised coverage of Beauty in Transition in Philadelphia. Aired on Fox News Philadelphia Channel 29, 6/23/15

“Traveling Salon Offers Barber, Beauty Services for Homeless,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Written by Sarai Flores, 7/4/15

“Mobile Salon Serving Homeless is Coming to Philadelphia,”, written by Kristen Gillette, 6/5/2015

“Artist Gives Philadelphiaʼs Homeless a Makeover,”, written by Zach Becker

“On Caring” Hosted by Jovana Stokic, Transborder Art series on Brooklyn Public Television, created by Graciela Cassel. Air date March 2015

News 12 Brooklyn, coverage on Beauty in Transition, Air date August 26, 2014

“Interview with Jody Wood” Editorial Magazine. Written by Whitney Mallett, Spring 2014

“Not Exactly Homeless,” PBS: Arts District. Transmedia story by Carrie Saldo, 6/14/13

“Nuevos Aires” CubaVision International, air date: 4/29/13

“Extraordinary Expats: Jody Wood” Seoulist Magazine. Written by Sonja Swanson. 4/18/12

“Social Media and Contemporary Art” Das Super Paper. Written by Kate Britton. 10/11

“Jesse Darling and Jody Wood in conversation” Critical Correspondence: Movement Research Center. 8/23/2011

“Supergirl: Female Artists Show their Videos at Nexus” Philadelphia Inquirer. Written by Edith Newhall. 1/10/10

“Perspective: Supergirl at Nexus Gallery” Philadelphia City Paper. Written by Jonathan Wallis, 12/17/09

“Supergirl! All-girl videos at Nexus” Written by Libby Rosof, 12/22/09

“Passing Permanence; Jody Wood and the Power of the Temporary”

Newspaper. Written by Frank Tankard. 9/9/08 (cover story).

“Blart: Communicable 2006 at the WET Gallery” The Stranger Newspaper. Seattle, WA.

Written by Annie Wagner, 9/19/06


2015 Notes from the Field, Panel discussion, Hosted by A Blade of Grass at The Rubin Foundationʼs 8th Floor, NYC

2015 Visiting Artist, University of Bridgeport Shintaro Akatsu School of Design, CT

2015 Visiting Professor, Video I, taught by William Pappenheimer, Pace University, NYC

2014 Participatory Cultures of Documentary as Social Practice, Panel Speaker, Codes & Modes Conference, Hunter College, NYC

2014 Healing Identity, Presentation, Queens Museum, Open Engagement Conference, Queens, NY

2014 Homeless Advocacy Artists, Guest speaker at Engaging Artists Residency, More Art NYC.

2014 Guest Artist Speaker for The Body in History: Art and Performance, taught by Professor Jess Gibson, Pace University, NYC

2014 Guest Artist Speaker for Art Theory and Practice, taught by professor Anna Adler, Marymount Manhattan College, NYC

2011 International Artist Presentation, PS333 Gallery, Seoul Art Space, Seoul, S.Korea

2009 New Work, Emporia State University, Emporia, KS

2004 Resident Artist Presentation, Pratt Fine Art Center, Seattle, WA