Jake Wood is an artist based in Gillingham, Kent, whose work spans performance, sculpture, installation, collage and photography. In ‘Muscle Mary’ he explores the intersections between bodybuilding and queerness. He is interested in having one foot in one camp, and one in the other.
Drawing on a culture that is concerned with de-bunking the ideas of fitness, work and exercise, he explores this by integrating his own use of the gym and physicality into his performances using tongue-in-cheek humour and slapstick comical gestures. He enjoys the unapologetic attitude and approach that performative work offers – turning up to a place with his homemade props, doing what he needs to do, and then exiting again. Wood considers his practice inherently intrusive, invading different kinds of spaces and environments, the general public becoming unwitting participants captured on video.
Wood’s performances, Exercise? I thought you said EXTRA FRIES!!! (2020), and No Pain! No Champagne!(2021), sees him subvert this situation of performing in public spaces. Wood drinks unlimited amounts of champagne and treats himself to a burger and chips, whilst others are trying to burn calories off.
Wood will be showcasing a ‘Muscle Mary’ live durational performance at the opening of the exhibition. The audience can expect an immersive bodybuilding queer experience, that brings both the Romney Marshes and a bodybuilding stage together.
Jake Wood was born in 2000 in Gillingham, Kent, where he is still based. He studied for a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at the University for the Creative Arts, Canterbury, graduating in 2021. Solo exhibitions include ‘Intruder’, Electric Medway Digital Arts Festival, Masonic Hall, Rochester, and ‘Both artist and material’, Folkestone Fringe Triennial, The Studio, Folkestone (2021). Group exhibitions include ‘They/Them/Their: Naturally Not Binary’, IMT Gallery, London, ‘In Search of Overwhelming Banality: the Status Quo of Public Spaces’, One Minute Space Gallery, Athens, Greece (2022), and ‘OUT (OF OUR COMFORT ZONE)’, Folkestone Fringe, Brewery Tap UCA Project Space, Folkestone (2021). Wood has undertaken residencies including Club Uraina Residency, Cambridge Junction, Cambridge, and Augmented River Residency, Electric Medway, Chatham (2022), UCA x CRATE Graduate Award Residency, CRATE Studios and Project Space, Margate, and @Disturbance Residency, Ugly Duck, London (2021). In 2022 he was recipient of the Reignite Artist Bursary, funded by live art agency, Home Live Art. In 2022 he was commissioned to perform A Sea Change, at Art in Romney Marsh Visual Art Festival, Ivychurch, Romney Marsh, and Muscle Mary meets River Medway, at Electric Medway Digital Arts Festival, Sun Pier House Project Space, Chatham. Wood followed this up by performing live for queer performance night at Club Urania, Cambridge Junction, Cambridge.
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