Flash Docs (the entire work):
Sun Change (the painting, oil on canvas), EB-1 (an existing installation art behind the two works), O-1 (an existing installation on the floor)
Created for HATAK
By Julio Jose Austria
Julio Jose Austria lives in an apartment building basement in Brooklyn with a roommate. Hence, he was drawn to the attic space for this online exhibition among two other choices. Because of their living location, Hurricane Ida easily flooded their living quarters. They made it through the flood but their things did not.
Submerged in an almost knee-deep flood with their electronic equipment, strewn papers, and other valuable devices floating about, he tried to save as much of their things as he can. He had been living in New York for more than a decade and this was the first time that he encountered indoor flooding, which means that environmental concerns have reached the home level.
A four-layered installation piece in the attic, the omnibus work title Flash Docs derived from the term flash floods consists of inundated documents of Julio Jose Austria brought and wrought by Hurricane Ida.
The background documents mostly from the immigration office have been pasted on a gray wall form as the middle layer of the installation. The floodwaters fundamentally altered their appearance even after they had dried. The literal weather-beaten
documents had been filed again and kept again alongside personal letters from back home for legal and sentimental reasons.
The abstract painting called Sun Change obviouslyalluding to climate change is the second layer placed on top of the sea of documents. These two works sit on another work titled EB-1. The work comes from a 2017 solo exhibition of the artist in
The Philippines with the title Alien of Extraordinary Ability. EB-1 or the Alien of Extraordinary Ability is an immigrant US visa classification.
Collapsed on the floor with a water wave-like pattern of another existing work of the artist called O-1, the first layer of Flash Docs, underscores the three hanging layers. O-1 also formed part of Austria’s 2017 solo exhibition. O-1 is a non-immigrant US visa classification.
The layering process speaks of the interconnection of events from the general to the particular, particularly how this series of occurrences eventually impact vulnerable sectors like immigrants living in a basement. The immigrant artist finds himself wading and working through them; pausing intermittently for some quick reflection; drying his soaked things; contemplating where he is in this shifting world through art-making.
About the artist:
Julio Austria is a contemporary Filipino American artist who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He immigrated to the United States in 2011 to pursue further knowledge and practice in the art.
His works mainly focused on urbanization and migration which provides a visual portrayal of his most profound life experiences and narration based upon his observations and absorption of the environment he is in. His art mainly focuses on paintings with some mixed media and installation.
Austria finished his bachelor’s degree in painting at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila Philippines. He is the recipient of the 2009 Asian Artist Full Fellowship Award at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson Vermont, Joan Mitchell Foundation grantee for the Ox-Bow School for the Arts in Saugatuck Michigan in 2010, Ruth Katzman scholarship awardee by the Vytlacil campus of the Arts Student League New York. He was also chosen as one of the mentees in the Immigrant Artist Program by the New York Foundation of Arts in 2014 and a studio artist at Chashama Space to Create Program. His work has been exhibited in Manila, New York, Bangkok, Singapore, Berlin, London, and Vienna.