A core tenet of human culture is connection: to each other, to the Earth, and to the unknown. These colossal themes of culture are visually compressed in the vivid and mind-bending works of Brooklyn-based California artist Matthew Day Jackson. Utilizing a long list of materials that speak to nature, human culture, and death, Jackson collages an alchemical process combining silk-screen, resin, bronze, lead and more to compose extraordinary landscapes, still lifes, portraits and abstracts. By combining toxic man-made materials with imagery from national parks and flower arrangements, his art collapses life and death onto a single plane. There, they contend with American exceptionalism declared by a cleansed history of beauty, technology, and warfare. Working to dispel these myths, Jackson pools and scrapes lead on stainless steel to then be brushed, painted, and stained, generating similar tones and glows of precious stones or mountains in a fading sunset. At once a wry tribute to art history’s great male artists and a nod to impending climate change, his compositions reverberate between astonishment and alarm, a place the artist has deemed the “horriful,” where beauty and horror exist simultaneously.

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