about Jocelyn Woods
Jocelyn Woods is an actress, fine art model, concept designer and creative director living in Cambridge, VT. Born with a rare, severe and atypical neuromuscular disease, Woods has been semi-bedridden and unable to stand or walk since 2003. She collaborates with numerous fine art photographers from around the world to bring her visions to life. Using her unique body as an artistic medium of expression and revolutionary exploration, Woods poses as a model while directing the set design, concepts, wardrobe, styling and pre- and post- production of the images. Her impetus is to create art that is both visceral and mystical for the viewer, through theatrical drama and transcendental eroticism.
Recognized as a gifted child prodigy, Woods began training in classical piano at the age of 5, releasing her solo piano album “A River’s Journey” at 16 while graduating from high school and receiving the Joyce Walsh Disability Award and scholarships from Discover Awards and Greenfield Piano Associates. Woods pursued extensive private training in piano performance and composition with master teachers until she developed Myalgic Encephalomyelitis at the age of 18 in 2003 and became semi-bedridden, which reduced her mobility. Devastated at being separated from her beloved piano, Jocelyn turned to classical vocal studies and became a composer of experimental improvisational vocal chants and entered a lifelong study of theatre.
As a fine art model, Jocelyn has been sought by art photographers around the globe, who make pilgrimages to her home where she brings her concepts to life before their lens. In 2013 she began the “Ecstasy of a Cripple” series with internationally renowned Thomas Dodd, reaching global publicity in an attempt to shatter the stigmas and prejudices surrounding disability and sexuality. “It is my fervent wish to utilize my “crippled” body to illustrate and document the naked core of existence,” specifically by experimenting with the fluidity of matter, to portray her encounters of erotic union with the divine–highly sexually charged ‘raptures’ that unveil the blinding core of being. Woods’ work has been exhibited both locally and abroad, including the Guild of Erotic Artists’ “Temptation” show at the Strand Gallery, London’s biggest sensual exhibit of 2013.
Jocelyn’s bardic nature and poetic fluency have translated to the stage. “In modeling, my poetry then found a visual counterpart. Without warning, I watched my riddled verse automatically become theatrical dramas.” After 10 years of being semi-bedridden and physically unable to leave her house except by ambulance for medical emergencies, Jocelyn performed her one-act play, “The Fool’s Riddle: Hysteria Has No House,” June 2014 at Black Box Theatre in Burlington, VT, a theatrical examination of the history of the ancient medical condition “hysterica passio” (literally “the wandering womb”,) retrieved from the sterile walls of clinical asylums and “heaved onto the floor of parliament / That all Senators, Presidents and Pious Men / May hear the mayhem of all castaways,” and as agent of prophetic and oracular divination. Questioning the belief systems of what it is to be a woman, of what is deemed holy or unholy, sane or insane, The Fool embodies hysteria as the inherent urge to expand the boundaries of expression and burst walls of oppression. “Woods distills our attention to her vocal power and facial expressiveness,” writes Seven Days VT. “She may not be capable of lifting her arms, but she has constructed a world to rule. It’s remarkable to watch her fragile presence as the center of something that emanates in ripple after ripple, projecting from her…Visually, the play is riveting…As an artist, Woods can stand on her own, without excuses for her disability. Her fierce commitment to performance is enough.”
Woods cites ecstasy, hysteria and apocalypse as her muses. “The Muse has long endured a stifling confinement. It is time to set her free. Hysterical states of ecstasis trespass where angels fear to tread by catapulting your senses into divine madness, a madness without a method and a rhyme without a reason, free from the prison of linear flatness. A madness so thoroughly unfettered that it becomes the gateway to ecstasy.”
Currently, Jocelyn is directing and modeling in a series inspired by the ancient Isle of Lesbos, begun in 2017, featuring women of diverse skin tones, non-binary and trans models. Jocelyn directs the lavish theatrical scenes as a living tableau vivant, fusing interpretive dance, avant-garde cinema, Bohemian-fringe theatre and poetic kinetics in a performance of gender exploration and human interconnectedness. Woods’ solo work increasingly intersects with photographed art installations, as in the Hieronymous Bosch-inspired “The Infinite Dreamer” mural collaboration with Bear Kirkpatrick, and the abstract performance art of “Ovulation”, a gooey Butoh-like dance re-claiming the sacredness of vaginal fluids with Montreal-based Gordon Fischer.
“Deeply intellectual…sensually beautiful…riveting performance….Stimulating theatre–refreshingly.”
–Jim Lowe, Times Argus
"Jocelyn Woods is the leading edge of resurrection, venturing beyond the known."
--Dr. Mariëlle de Natris, Psychologist, Clarity Coach, Mystic and Author of "Interconnection," The Netherlands
"A very strong performer, compelling and deeply intense. Jocelyn Woods' expression and especially her eyeball immediacy is mesmerizing, and the source of the power of her performance."
--Lance Olson, Executive Director, Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center
“Jocelyn is much more than just a model: she is an artist, she is a muse. When I worked with her…she hit the bull’s eye every single time.“
–Thomas Dodd, fine art photographer
“Jocelyn Woods…is singularly the most passionate person I have ever met in my entire life.“
–Cheshire Scott, fine art photographer