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Matthew Day Jackson, Tree (after CDF), 2022, wood, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, fiberglass, stones, needlepoint, lead on panel, stainless steel frame, 80 1/2 × 61 1/4 × 2" © Matthew Day Jackson

Matthew Day Jackson


Photography by Kelly Halpin

b. 1974, Panorama City, California

(opens in a new window) @matthewdayjackson

Matthew Day Jackson is a painter, sculptor, draftsperson, and photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. Through his multifarious practice, which includes collage, drawing, video, performance, and installation, Jackson engages with a wide range of subjects, from the historical and scientific to the futuristic and fantastical.

Utilizing notably American images and iconography associated with LIFE magazine, the Apollo 11 Moon landing, the West, the atomic bomb, and more, he examines how an inexorable pursuit of a false utopia throughout American history has shaped notions of national identity. Jackson brings his own experience and embodiment of the past and present to the fore of his practice. At the core of his work is a deep interest in finding similarities within binaries and dichotomies, particularly the simultaneity of beauty and horror.

The research and experimentation central to Jackson’s process undermines mythologies of artistic genius connected to his signature style. Utilizing a variety of traditional, industrial, and found materials—including Formica, molten lead, and scorched wood—the artist synthesizes new meanings and interpretations. The artist’s materials are equally as significant as the conceptual underpinnings of his works, and Jackson often aims to upend viewers’ initial expectations and impressions. His layered, complex works invite questions of medium, materiality, and meaning that are answered through sustained consideration, analysis, and interrogation.

Reflecting Jackson’s long-standing interest in art historical allusions and intersections between physical and digital modes of art making, his most recent works investigate the complexities and ambiguities of authorship. Drawing parallels between the political and social issues of the 19th century and those of the present day, Jackson focuses on memory as a core component of his practice. Using a semi-autonomous laser process which imbues colors and forms with an otherworldly feel, the artist mines the history of landscape painting, making connections to the conventions of landscape in science fiction, film, and literature, in which the strange and familiar converge.

Matthew Day Jackson graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle in 1997 and earned an MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey in 2001. He was the recipient of the 2019 Jordan Schnitzer Award for Excellence in Printmaking, and he has participated in residencies at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas; the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Oregon; and the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in Maine. Important solo and group exhibitions of his work include New American Art, Studio des Acacias, Paris (2015); Matthew Day Jackson: Maa, Serlachius Museums, Mantta, Finland (2019); Matthew Day Jackson: New Landscape, Qiao Space, Shanghai, China (2018); Matthew Day Jackson: Waterfalls & Birds, Camille Obering Fine Art, Wilson, Wyoming (2021); and Light and Language, Lismore Castle Arts, Waterford, Ireland (2021). His work is held in numerous collections worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Rubell Museum, Miami; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.


Matthew Day Jackson, WHJ Waterfall, 2022, wood, oil paint, epoxy, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, lead, geode, stainless steel frame, 72 1/2 × 58 1/4 × 2" © Matthew Day Jackson


Matthew Day Jackson, Rocky Mountain Falls (after Bierstadt), 2022, wood, oil paint, epoxy, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, lead, stainless steel frame 85 1/4× 58 1/4× 2" © Matthew Day Jackson


Matthew Day Jackson, Ghost Bouquet VII [B71], 2022, formica, oil paint, acrylic, urethane plastic, fiberglass, lead on panel, stainless steel frame 80 1/4 × 61 1/4 × 2" © Matthew Day Jackson