A “hundred year flood” refers to the recurrence interval of an extreme yet statistically predictable event. In geographic or real estate terms, this demarcates the high water floodplain at times of most extreme rainfall; residents may not be prepared for such a flood, but it is not without precedent. Rather than a physical occurrence, however, this exhibit alludes to a swell of events reaching psychic or emotional limits— a surge of emotional intensity that threatens to overwhelm survival.
100 Year Flood gives visual form to emotional residue, much like the debris left behind when floodwaters abate. A line of vinyl text encircling the gallery perimeter operates as a metaphoric high water line, comprised of words and phrases related to limits, endurance, forbearance and submission. These language fragments can be read from left to right, beginning from any point. Extreme flood is used as a metaphor, with materials arranged as if deposited in place when emotional or psychological floodwaters receded.
While the origins of this exhibit precede the extraordinary events of spring 2020, it was actualized during and in response to extreme cultural unrest. Interrupted geometries and battered structural forms within the installation attest to systemic collapse, accompanied by the inferred possibility of creating something new and beautiful from the wreckage.
Julie Wills is an interdisciplinary artist working in the expanded field of sculpture, including installation, collage, performance, video and architectural interventions. Recent solo exhibits have been presented at C for Courtside, Knoxville, TN; Arlington Arts Center, Arlington, VA; IA&A at Hillyer, Washington, DC; and Whittier College, Los Angeles, CA. She is a 2019 recipient of an Individual Artist Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and has been awarded recent artist residencies at Cill Rialaig (Ireland), Arteles (Finland), Jentel, PLAYA, The Hambidge Center, and Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, among others. Her works are included in the White Columns Artist Registry in New York and the ICA Baltimore’s Flat Files Program. In addition to her individual studio practice, Wills is one of four artist members of The Bridge Club, an interdisciplinary performance art collaborative active since 2004. Wills is an Assistant Professor of Studio Art at Washington College in Chestertown, MD.