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Justin Berry
the dust never settles

September 10 - October 8, 2017

Opening Reception: Sunday, September 10, 6-8 PM


Essex Flowers is pleased to present the dust never settles, an exhibition of work by Justin Berry.

There is a sensation of falling as the sky shifts from blue to purple, from purple to orange, from orange to black. It is followed by a feeling of settling into place and landing, the gentle mental thud of remembering something that has been seen before.

There are times and places that become part of our memory and our identity, such as watching the sky at dusk with someone, on a hillside that you have climbed together. Returning to that spot over the years reminds you of the experience and it takes you back to that moment, but never for real. Trees have grown, winds have eroded the soil, the flowers that you can smell are descendants of the ones you smelt before. We do not return to that spot because the moment can be fully recovered; we return because it cannot.

Shah-i-kot Valley can be returned to, to the very same day that was visited before, at least as it exists in a video game. The same dust drifts down from the same village that is still burning. Ashes rain from the sky, for hours, for days, for years, for as long as the game is played. In the virtual world, there is never a new dawn or a new sunset; blue and purple and orange and black are colors that hover forever along an interminable gradient.

As part of an ongoing project, Justin Berry has returned to the Shah-i-kot Valley on various occasions. For this show, Berry arranges photographs taken over a seven year period, side by side, so that images from 2012 sit next to those from 2013 and 2017. Throughout those years the outside world has seen new wars, new political movements, and new disasters, but in these photos the mountain is always in the distance, the clouds inevitably return, the dust never settles.

Justin Berry’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with work recently on view at the Noorderlicht in Gronigen NL; the Altonale in Hamburg DE; Wave Hill and Essex Flowers in New York, NY; Artspace in New Haven, CT; CAVE in Detroit, MI; CUAC in Salt Lake City, UT; and the University of Richmond Art Museum. His work has been featured in issues of Art Review, Frieze, Pin-up magazine, Media-N, Prattfolio. In 2013 Bomb Magazine commissioned the piece i-would.com from him as part of their portfolio series. He is also a recipient of the 2014 NYFA artist's fellowship and a Critic at the Yale School of Art with a role at the new Center for Collaborative Arts and Media.