Sam Jury works across the mediums of moving image, installation, sound, and photography. She has lived and worked in both the U.S. and the Middle East, and has exhibited internationally with solo shows in London and New York, and group shows in China, Europe, and the U.S., including the video installation of Forever is Never (2010) that was shown at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell. In 2018, Jury was nominated for the United Kingdom's preeminent film prize, the Jarman Award. In the same year, she won the prestigious Research in Film Award, presented by the Arts Humanities Research Council, U.K., for her short film titled To Be Here, which examines the long-term displacement of Sahrawi refugees living in camps in the harsh conditions of the Sahara desert. The film's initial presentation was commissioned by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University as a multichannel installation in 2016. A single-channel version toured Europe and later returned as a one-off screening in the camps.
Jury's work often entails interdisciplinary collaboration with partners such as scientists, choreographers, writers, composers, and psychologists, as well as with other visual artists. Her interest in the slow violence experienced by the individual through causes such as climate change, mass displacement, and war has resulted in several major projects. In 2009–10, Jury was artist-in-residence at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, and in 2011, she was the Ruth Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Resident Artist at the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University that culminated in a solo show of video installations called Coerced Nature (2013). Related projects also include Climart (2012–17) — a five-year research project investigating the efficacy of art/science collaborations and the effect of visual arts in communicating climate change, and the Disasters of Peace (2017–) initiative, an ongoing project cofounded with writer and filmmaker Kamila Kuc. Created to critique and examine filmic representations of disaster beyond the immediate spectacle, work from Disasters of Peace has been screened at the Ann Arbor Film Festival (U.S.), Bienal de la Imagen en Movimiento (Buenos Aires), and the Whitechapel Art Gallery (London).
Jury graduated with an M.F.A. in painting from Cornell in 1998, followed by a two-year fellowship in print and digital media at the Royal Academy Schools, London. According to Jury, who is from the U.K., her time at Cornell was full of rich new experiences that included working in her first private studio, assisting with instruction in the classroom alongside art faculty, and access to hundreds of elective classes beyond her specific interests.
"Being part of the Cornell community was the start of my journey to becoming an independent thinker and practitioner," says Jury. "I studied anthropology and film, which in turn informed my studio work and graduate teaching. Certainly, without Cornell's holistic approach to learning and teaching, I would not be making the artwork I do today. I was able to open an entirely new way of thinking about what it means to be an artist. In this respect, I owe a debt of gratitude the late Professor Don Frederickson, who kindly allowed me to join his legendary Introduction to Film Analysis class, despite it already being full. He said he liked to have painters in his class — and it is in no small part because of him that I now make films, and that all my work has a distinct psychological underpinning."
In continuation of Disasters of Peace, Jury is currently working on a series of films exploring prewar memories of place and event in the partially recognized state of Abkhazia in the Caucuses, to be realized in 2020. She is represented by Stephen Haller Gallery in New York City.