J. Makary’s first film debuted at the American Dance Festival in 2006. Since then, she has developed projects influenced by video art, classic and experimental cinema, and contemporary dance. From 2008 to 2010, she was artist-in-residence at the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks through their Contemporary Projects initiative. Her residency culminated in a solo exhibition at Powel House Museum and fostered in her practice an enduring interest in the ways that films can bring to light issues of control in the public, personal, and social aspects of our lives.

Makary’s films and videos have been exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art, the Slought Foundation, Vox Populi, Bartram’s Garden, and International House, all in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Mana Contemporary in Jersey City and Chicago; Artist-Run at Satellite Miami; SPACES in Cleveland, Ohio; the University of Memphis; Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey; and Zodiak Center for New Dance in Helsinki, Finland, among other venues. Her live performances have been presented at the Icebox Project Space at Crane Arts, AUX Performance Space at Vox Populi, and the Rotunda in Philadelphia. Originally trained as a writer and editor at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she earned an MFA in film at Temple University in 2013. 

Makary was named a 2013 Pew Fellow in the Arts and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in summer 2014. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs Mother Ditch, a critique group and skills-sharing community for experimental media artists.