Justin Brice Guariglia (b. 1974) is an artist walking the line between photography and painting. Transdisciplinary in nature, his work explores landscape and ecology through the lens of politics, culture, science, journalism, mythology and art history. His use of materials, processes, and scale, inform and shape the work, forging new ways of seeing and experiencing the world around us.
Guariglia studied Italian art history under the late art historian Terisio Pignatti in Venice before moving to Beijing, China in 1996 to study Chinese language, culture, and history. In 1997, he returned to the US to finish a liberal arts degree at Wake Forest University before returning to Asia where he lived for 20 years, first as a student, and shortly thereafter, as a documentary photographer. He traveled widely across the continent of Asia on photographic assignments for the New York Times, Smithsonian, National Geographic, Time, and the Far Eastern Economic Review, working primarily as a visual anthropologist, documenting the rapidly changing cultural and physical landscape of the region.
About The Work
Guariglia's work combines his own large-scale, highly detailed aerial landscape photographs with unique processes that incorporate painting, printmaking and sculptural elements, to create works embodying on a conceptual, physical, and material level the complexity of the Anthropocene, the age in which humankind has left its indelible mark on the face of the entire planet. Just as time - human and geologic - are features of his work, so is space. Guariglia's work challenges our ordinary experience of the environment from within, from a local and limited perspective. It insists, in the face of the global dimensions of the ways in which the human impact disrupts the life system of the Earth, on grasping a view of the whole. He takes up this challenge in an unsettling, aesthetically evocative way by starting with large-scale, extraordinarily high-resolution photos, many of them taken from altitudes of 40,000 ft. Beginning in 2015, Guariglia joined NASA flight missions over Greenland, capturing the morphing topography of rapidly changing glacial ice sheets. An enormous all-white and yet endlessly varied surface, the glacier's scale and age embody permanence, even as Guariglia's work painfully reveals its fragility.
Through the process of deconstructing photography into it's essential elements - content, material, process, and scale, Guariglia is able to reimagine the medium, and walk a line between photography and painting.
In order to forge an even deeper connection between the photograph and the physicality of what it represents, Guariglia uses an ultra-archival printing process that enables him to create an image of incredible durability, one that could potentially endure long after the glacier and all of his other subjects are gone. Guariglia uses ink-jet technology to layer acrylic that, when exposed to UV radiation, polymerizes and becomes hyper-archival. The printer becomes his paintbrush, and the process lets him radicalize and repurpose the traditional bird's eye view, moving beyond its flatness to create almost holographic images that seem to float in three dimensions. Fixed in archivally stable materials, his images of a dying planet act as fossils of our age. In Guariglia's works it is the world - seemingly eternal, its time measured in millions of years rather than the nanoseconds of the information age - whose impermanence is intensely felt.
2017 will bring, among others, a solo traveling exhibition, debuting at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida entitled: "Earth Works: Mapping The Anthropocene," and a solo show entitled After Nature at TwoThirtyOne Projects, a project space in Chelsea, New York City. Elements of this work appeared in a solo show at Lincoln Center, and a group show at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City; in previous years his work appeared in group shows at the Minnesota Center of Photography and the Museum Belvedere in the Netherlands. In 2014, Guariglia was nominated for Hong Kong's Sovereign Art Prize; in his earlier career, his documentary work was shown in solo exhibitions at the National Geographic Museum, Utah Valley University, and Otis College of Art and Design, and the Ping Yao Photography Festival, and has published monographs with Chronicle Books and the Aperture Foundation.
Guariglia will continue to explore the unstable relationship between space and time. In September 2016, NASA announced a collaboration between Guariglia and the agency, making him the first artist embedded in a NASA science mission. He will be flying with the NASA/JPL Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission on flights through 2020.