Jody Wood

Visual Art Department Alum
MFA, Expanded Media, University of Kansas, 2009
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Jody Wood uses mediums of social practice, video, photography, and performance. Her recent work reimagines routines in poverty support agencies, aiming to sculpt power dynamics, relationship networks, and resist stigmas surrounding poverty. Her site-specific work has been supported by prestigious institutions including A Blade of Grass, Esopus Foundation, Rema Hort Mann Foundation, an ArtPlace Initiative at McColl Center for Art + Innovation, and through residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Yaddo, and Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been on view at Parrish Museum of Art in Water Mill, NY; Vox Populi, in Philadelphia, PA; Rond-Point Projects in Marseille, France; The 8th Floor in NYC, and featured in publications such as The Atlantic, MSNBC, and The Huffington Post.

One of her more recent works, Choreographing Care, establishes open workshops in which staff at homeless shelters are invited to reframe care activities into performative tableaus, and perform various warm-up and cool-down exercises drawn from actors, vocal resonance techniques, and Theater of the Oppressed techniques such as Image Theater. Physical activities are used as a starting point to open space for staff to nonverbally explore difficult topics such as power dynamics, touch, and trauma, which can have transformative effects in increasingly bureaucratic care institutions that typically overlook sensory and corporeal experiences. Each Choreographing Care workshop uses vocalization, music, body work and/or theater to promote self-care.

Beauty in Transition, an artistic project that established a pop-up mobile hair salon providing beauty services including a hair wash, cut, color and/or style service to willing participants living in homeless shelters, works to eliminate the stigma of homelessness and replace it with dignity and understanding. 

Beauty in Transition originated in 2006 at Lawrence Community Shelter in Lawrence, Kansas. In Summer 2013, the project was invited to participate at RedLine’s exhibit, “Not Exactly Homeless” in Denver, Colorado, curated by Robin Gallite and Chad Kautzer. Denver-based bARTer Collective generously hosted Beauty in Transition for a week-long run. In 2014, the project launched in NYC with support from an A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art and grant support from Brooklyn Arts Council. The project served nine shelters in Brooklyn and Manhattan over a period of three months. Beauty in Transition visited Philadelphia in June 2015 through a residency hosted by Asian Arts Initiative, a community-based art center located in Chinatown North. The residency was made possible through support from ArtPlace America and the Visual Artist Network Exhibition Residency, which is a program of the National Performance Network. In July 2015, Beauty in Transition was hosted by Art in the Fields to operate in Reading, PA, which was ranked as America’s poorest city in 2011 and second poorest in 2015 according to data compiled from the US Census Bureau. The project’s final run took place in Kingston, NY in January 2016 with support from Esopus Foundation.

Selected Work

Beauty in Transition Portraits

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