About

I create art that explores dynamics of love, power and predation through narrative, figurative painting. I am interested in the collision of feminism and biopolitics; The ways in which the current paradigms of power foster a culture of domination and violence. The works depict the impact of political and cultural systems on individual impulsivity, irrationality, trauma and catastrophe. My images recreate cycles of cataclysm and rest, ritual, routine, chaos and control, while mining these themes for their inherent humor. Recurring motifs in my work include the desert, the American road, water, specifically oceans, floods and pools, children, the elderly, and images of illness and toxicity. While I intend to make my viewers wince and clench their jaw, I also invoke hope that change, redemption, forgiveness, laughter and goodness are possible.

My Rain Dance series features an imagined cult of women who jump rope as a ritual for summoning rain. They exist in mysterious spaces on the verge of drastic change. The women gather on a road in the Southwestern desert, an iconic American location where isolation and seemingly endless stretches of land allow for the exploration of hedonistic impulses, but also a birthplace for fringe or emergent religious experiences. Elizabeth Povinelli writes, “[the desert] stands for all things perceived and conceived as denuded of life - and by implication, all things that could, with the correct deployment of technological expertise… be remade hospitable to life...The desert is the space where life was, is not now, but could be if knowledges, techniques and resources were properly managed.” The rain dancers gather in the desert to fill this lacuna with visions of the future. The cyclical, rhythmic motion of their jump rope mimics the water cycle. Water is a recurring motif in my work as it has both healing and destructive potential. Water also distorts our usual sensory experience of the world, suspending gravity, refracting light and blurring vision. The rain dancers hope for a deluge that might cleanse the space of toxicity and provide resources for new life.

The series Texan Diluvian,  Trauma Poems and The Curse investigate violence, accountability and the possibility of change.  I synthesize images from online news articles, which document catastrophic events, images from google maps of the Bronx, where I taught English as a Second Language for two years, and National Geographic footage. The images also are influenced by my Jewish upbringing and understanding of the Tanakh (Old Testament). I look at acts of destruction and violence: self-flagellation rituals, security footage that captures my former student who was arrested for murder and the Houston flooding during hurricane Harvey through the lense of “Original Sin,” the deluge of Genesis, “the Destroyer” in Exodus and the Leviathan in the Book of Job.  Through my paintings of birth, the ultimate cycle, and newborns I consider the daunting prospect of abandoning existent systems, represented as the cloistral, yet temporary security of the womb, where reality is self-sustained and self-identical. New forms of social organization might emphasize partnership, empathy, compassion and egalitarianism.

 

Contact:

Email: justineneuberger@gmail.com

Phone: 347 601 7307