Gary Justis


DuZinc, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 32″, 2018

The Sweater, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 32″, 2018


Fire Cat
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 32″, 2018


Cat #9
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 32″, 2018


Trapper
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 32″, 2018


Cat #1
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 32″, 2018


Horned Greta
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 34″, 2018


Pages
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 30″, 2018


Gordon
, digital image with Photoshop manipulation, finished archival print, 48″ x 36″, 2019

Artist Statement

I have watched the aloofness of individual cats that have wandered in and out of my life, and I have always marveled at the seeming complexity of their inner life. The roles they take on in my photographs are my interpretation of how they might see themselves if they were self-aware; wise in the ways of civilized humanity’s avariciousness, physical style, and temperament. In my photographs, the feline subjects welcome the gaze with a measured sense of self, wherein a certain confidence and charisma draw us once again into their spell.

My photographs are an extension of my regular practice of explorations in sculpture, kinetics, and light. I use material-based design processes to fabricate a variety of machines that move and find mechanical expression in real time. In the mechanical processes, I use photography, video processes, and projected light and images, having realized that light phenomena and other objects from among my sculptures can be used to create another source of visual expression through photography.

My cat photographs are an extension of my studio practice with digital photography using projected light subjects. The photographs are made initially by digitally capturing unusual images projected on a flat surface using a variety of light sources. I manipulate my light sources, creating projected images that might resemble life forms, objects, and peculiar structures. After I have taken digital pictures of scores of projected images, I begin my editing process, saving only the digital picture files that depict a quasi-human form upon which I can place the features of cats via Photo-shop.

About the Artist

Born in Wichita, Kansas in 1953, Gary Justis earned a master’s in fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979. Over the last 40 years, he has developed his work professionally in sculpture, printmaking, and photography. Currently a resident of Bloomington, Illinois, Gary Justis continues his work in those disciplines as well as in writing. He holds a professorship at Illinois State University in Normal.

Gary Justis is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Grants (1984 and 1990), awarded when he lived and worked in Chicago from 1997 to 1999. Other honors include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

In addition to exhibiting his work at the Whitney Museum of  American Art at Phillip Morris, New York, Gary Justis has shown at such public institutions as the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois; and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art. He has also shown his work in numerous exhibitions at private galleries in Chicago; San Francisco and Los Angeles, California; and New York City.

Gary Justis’s work is included in a number of collections throughout the United States; these include, most notably, the collections of the Museum of Modern Art Library, The New York City Library (Special Collections), and JP Morgan Chase, all New York City; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago Artist’s Books Collection; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. His art also has been reviewed in such well-known magazines as ARTFORUM, Art in America, and ArtNews.

Gary Justis is represented by the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art in California, and by Mannekenpress in Bloomington, Illinois.

In 2019, Gary Justis’s solo exhibition of light sculpture, “The Poetry of Light and Motion”, was at the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, Galena, Illinois.

Gary Justis Website

Additional Cat Images by Gary Justis

Additional Photography and Sculpture by Gary Justis

Gary Justis on Facebook

Gary Justis on Instagram

Los Angeles Center for Digital Art

Manneken Press