Jody Wood

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Jody Wood, USA

E-mail :
Website :

2010   seize/duplicate\repeat, (2 person collaboration with Mikel Bisbee-Durlam).
         November 6 in conjunction with annual Savoir-Faire Performance Art Series,
         Soho20 Gallery Chelsea, NYC
         NEW VIDEO WORK, Soho20 Gallery Chelsea, NYC
2009   Martial Art Of Backstabbing, Solo performance December 10 in conjunction
         with Supergirl! video art exhibition Nexus Foundation for Today’s Art,
         Philadelphia, PA
         Support Systems: MFA Thesis Exhibition, Art & Design Gallery, University of Kansas
2008   Sever and Repair, Solo performance March 6 in conjunction with Resounding Spirit
         exhibition of Japanese Contemporary Art of the 1960s: Spencer Museum of Art,
         Lawrence, KS

2011   The Artist’s Practice; Portal Onsite, Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown,
         Sydney, Austrailia
2009-10   Supergirl!, NEXUS/Foundation for Today’s Art, Philadelphia, PA
2009   Faculty Show, Lawrence Art Center, Lawrence, KS
         Boxing Gloves and Bustiers, Soho20 Gallery Chelsea, NYC. Juried by Kate Gilmore
2008-09   Public art proposal funded for one-year exhibit, Multidisciplinary
              Research Building, Lawrence, KS
2008-09   Work selected for one-year juried exhibit, Nunemaker Center, Lawrence, Kansas
2008   Video Artists Under 30, Lawrence Art Center, Lawrence, KS
         Olio, Red Door Gallery, Kansas City, MO
         Swap Meet, Shift Space, Witchita, KS
         Hypermedia, Prudential Building, Seattle, WA
2010   One of 20 artists chosen for free participation in Interactive Media Workshop for
         Women Artists, Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center, NYC 
2008   Funding stipend awarded for public art proposal, Multidisciplinary Research Building
         Funding budget award for project proposal, Spencer Museum of Art
2007   John Merle Patterson Merit Scholarship, University of Kansas
         Pat J. Ellis Merit Scholarship, University of Kansas
2006   Merit Scholarship Award, Full Tuition Waver, University of Kansas
2003-04   Emerging Artist in Residence Scholarship in Sculpture, Pratt Fine Arts,
              Seattle, WA

2010   Philadelphia Inquirer: “Supergirl: Female Artists Show their Videos at Nexus”
         Written by Edith Newhall. January 10, 2010
2009   Philadelphia City Paper: “Perspective: Supergirl at Nexus Gallery” Written
         by Jonathan Wallis, PHD. December 17, 2009
2008 Newspaper: “Passing Permanence; Jody Wood
         and the Power of the Temporary” Written by Frank Tankard. June 9, 2008
         (cover story).
2006   The Stranger Newspaper: “Blart: Communicable 2006 at the WET Gallery”
         Seattle, WA.
         Written by Annie Wagner. September 19, 2006
2011   Artist-in-Residence with the Culture Push Genesis Project for
         performance artists. Brooklyn, NYC
2004   PONCHO Artist-in-residence in Sculpture, Pratt Fine Art Center, Seattle, WA

Jody Wood : For the past five years or so my work has been about understanding trauma and the healing process. <Spoken Stage> is a project I’m doing in collaboration with a good friend of mine (and amazing artist) Park So-yeon. It was partially inspired by my continuing fascination with the subject of death—both metaphorically and literally. In my last project (called Preparing for Consumption) I was interviewing long-term couples about preparing for the death of their partner, and <Spoken Stage> brought me to the topic of preparing for one’s own death. Aging is a process that confronts us with our own physical impermanence and mortality… in my art I want to talk about ways to value life and each other and how to process metaphorical deaths we all experience in life when we’re going through a big transition: traumatic events or endings and how those deaths can bring new growth. The project has changed a lot because I had no idea what I was getting into, delving into this subject of death in a culture I’ve never been a part of. It’s a universal subject but there are many cultural differences in how it’s conceived of and talked about.
Interviewer : If I remember correctly, you’re wrapping up a 12-week session, right? How has the experience been? And could you give us a little teaser of what to expect in the final performance this week?
Jody Wood : Yes, it’s been about 12 weeks. It’s been an amazing experience and I feel really lucky to have formed a very unique and deep relationship with this group of seniors that crosses borders, across culture and language barriers. We structured the class to teach the subject of poetry and self-expression through collaboration and community. We have already had one performance on April 13th in the Senior Center Theatre, where as a group, and individually, the seniors performed the script they had written. The performance on the 20th will be much different and much more intimate, being set in a private home (a traditional hanok), and will have a more private, conversational feel to it. (The Performance which was held on April 20th was not held at a private home, but at ‘Temporary Space Seoul’.)
Interviewer : What has the reaction been from the participants so far?
Jody Wood : Even though it has been a challenging process to express themselves in a non-native language, they have been enthusiastic about learning new vocabulary in English, working together on poetry, and performing. They’ve been really dedicated to the class and to the process! I’ve been really impressed actually and have seen a huge growth in their writings from the beginning of the class until now. Memorization has been a difficulty, but actively using the mind for something as challenging as learning a new language can help preserve it. I think that preserving the body and mind isn’t about resisting the aging process, it’s about embracing past history and finding value in the present moment.
Interviewer : That’s interesting, because a lot of your work seems to deal with death and loss.
Jody Wood : True, it’s been really interesting to see the different perspectives of Eastern & Western cultures on the subject too. One of the seniors in class told me that a big difference between the two is that Western philosophy is more pragmatic and Eastern philosophy is more Karmic, embracing the past as a continuation of a natural cycle. In my own thoughts, I’m thinking of death as a moment that is totally unknown and totally disruptive to daily life because it brings about a huge transition—but is ultimately transformative and necessary to bring about new growth.
Interviewer : Was it ever uncomfortable to talk about death with people who are so close to it?
Jody Wood : I was really surprised about this, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all. I think this is because we spent so much time together before asking those more personal questions— now it’s like talking among good friends. Also, I don’t think they are generally uncomfortable with their own death, and that comes through in their poetry.
Interviewer : I can’t wait to hear more of it! Given the so-called cultural divide, I think one question has to be asked: Are you ever concerned that your work might be perceived as (or be) either patronizing or even exploitative?
Jody Wood : I can’t control how people will perceive this work, but because we are working with a marginalized group, exploitation is a sensitive issue that we are well aware of. To do this type of community work, artists need to be extremely aware of their responsibility and ethics. Senior citizens are particularly important to hear from because they are marginalized by culture and aren’t valued in the same way that young people are. The value and role they once had when they were younger has undergone a shift with age—their roles in their careers, in society, and also their roles in the family has undergone a huge shift. There also seems to be a change in the world today where younger generations are more and more mobile, moving further away from home, and aging parents and grandparents don’t always have the same support structure from their families that they used to have in previous generations. So this project is really about bridging the gap between all ages so we can better understand each other’s human value.
Interviewer : You bring up this theme of bridging gaps and also communicating in your artist’s statement—how has being in Korea influenced the way your work expresses these themes?
Jody Wood : There are communication barriers for sure, and it really changes my work’s process and subject entirely. I feel like in Korea I’ve had to embrace an organic process of working even more than I normally would. I don’t want to approach my artwork by having a preconceived idea, and forcing that idea to be actualized despite cultural barriers and language obstacles. To work here, I need to have a lot of flexibility and fluidity so my ideas can be permeated by the culture and barriers I come across.

The <Spoken Stage> final performance was held at Temporary Space Seoul in Anguk on April 20th 2012 (* A longer version of this interview by Sonja Swanson originally appeared in www.