Justin Wood: March Towards Extinction / Spring/Break Art Show New York 2018

Justin Wood is a contemporary artist based in South Florida exploring the collision of the digital and physical worlds. For Spring/Break Art Show 2018 in New York he has created a site specific video projection mapping installation using debris and destruction from Hurricane Irma. The sculpture mimics the debris piles. The LCD screens show paintings inspired by the experience of the storm including climate change data and native mythologies.

Justin Wood: March Towards Extinction. Curated by Lee Wells and Erica Ensminger. Spring/Break Art Show 2018, New York. March 6, 2018.

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Exhibition text:

Justin Wood brings his Hurricane Irma Projections to the Spring Break Art Show. This year’s theme is, “A Stranger Comes to Town.”

Sometimes a monster comes to town. The normal pattern of life can abruptly be thrown into chaos and uncertainty. The routine obliterated. Bank accounts drained. Goals, plans and expectations set on fire. Strangers suddenly find themselves united in an experience of basic survival exposing their vulnerabilities, insecurities, and egos as they battle this dark presence. When the monster finally evaporates, the home they return to and the simple life that they knew is now a nostalgic whisper in the late summer winds. For artist, Justin Wood, the stranger that came to town was a monster known as Hurricane Irma.

At one point in its journey, Irma was one of the largest and most powerful Atlantic storms ever recorded. It caused catastrophic damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, and the Virgin Islands before bouncing off of Cuba and heading to the Florida Keys. After evacuating, Justin watched this monster take aim directly at his world with predictions showing the center of the path going directly down his street. On September 10, the eye of the storm passed over his home and studio on Summerland Key with the eye-wall obliterating the surrounding islands home to the few grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants that made up his simple routine in a paradise now lost.

What Justin returned to is an alternate reality. A shocking transformation. The aesthetics of unfathomable power at once awesome and ugly. All of the trees collapsed. All of the birds gone. He responded to this carnage with a series of site specific video projection mapping installations. Justin sought to transform this ugliness of human excess into glowing moments of respite highlighting the natural sculptures that emerged in the wake of the massive power of Hurricane Irma. Starting with the Shel Silverstein House in Key West, Justin went on to projection map destroyed homes, stranded boats, bat towers, tree stumps and various collections of debris from up and down the Lower Florida Keys. The attention of the world media and general public moved on quickly while the Keys continued to recover. Knowing that over 10,000 of his fellow residents were still homeless and many lives were still in complete flux, the project began to take on a new meaning. By highlighting the ongoing recovery efforts through works of art and using the images as a tool for fundraising, Justin was helping to keep the recovery in the public consciousness. These efforts gained national attention through an article in the Miami New Times discussing the project and the Tumblr where the works were documented.

For Spring Break Art Show, Justin has created a site specific video projection mapping installation using debris and destruction from Hurricane Irma. The sculpture mimics the debris piles utilized in the keys projections. In addition to the video sculpture, the exhibit includes new LCD screen paintings inspired by the evacuation experience, return experience and the source of the storm including climate change data and native mythologies. This work comes at a vital moment where the human experience of the effects of climate change must exist in the contemporary art conversation.

Justin Wood
Wood is a South Florida based artist working in the overlap of the digital and physical worlds. His work is built on a conceptual framework derived from the impact of emerging technologies on humankind. This includes data visualizations from civilian casualties in the drone war, video documentation from acts of terrorism, tracking the impact of invasive species on local ecosystems and crime scene studies from mass shootings. Due to the direct impact from Hurricane Irma on his home in the Lower Florida Keys, his recent projects are calling attention to the massive physical destruction and catastrophic environmental damage left behind by increasingly powerful storms due to climate change. His work has been exhibited internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the mediums of Projection Mapping, Screen Paintings, Video Sculpture, Video Art and Virtual Reality. he holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts (NY) where he studied painting with Jack Whitten, Brooke Larsen, Michael Goldberg and Joanne Greenbaum.

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