Matthew Day Jackson

Against Nature

May 12 – Jul 1, 2023
New York
Exhibition Details:

Matthew Day Jackson
Against Nature
May 12 – Jul 1, 2023


510 West 25th Street
New York


Press Release


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Above: Installation view: Matthew Day Jackson: Against Nature, May 12-July 1, 2023, Pace Gallery, New York © Matthew Day Jackson

Pace is pleased to present new works by Matthew Day Jackson at its 510 West 25th Street gallery in New York from May 12 to July 1.

This presentation—coinciding with Frieze New York and TEFAF New York—will mark Jackson’s debut solo show with the gallery and his first exhibition in New York in a decade. Titled Against Nature, the artist’s upcoming exhibition will center on a focused body of work that includes painting and sculpture.

Through his expansive practice, Jackson explores a wide range of subjects—historical, futuristic, scientific, spiritual, and fantastical. At the core of his work is a deep interest in finding similarities within binaries and dichotomies, particularly the simultaneity of beauty and horror. In his research-based, experimental process, the artist considers conceptual and physical underpinnings equally significant, incorporating combinations of traditional, industrial, and found materials in his work across painting, sculpture, installation, and other mediums.

Named for Joris-Karl Huysmans’s 1884 novel Against Nature—in which a French aristocrat named Jean Des Esseintes departs Paris to indulge his obsessive, insatiable desire for luxury and beauty in the countryside, exploiting natural resources for his own aesthetic ends—Jackson’s forthcoming presentation with Pace in New York will be anchored by ten new landscape paintings. Using a semi-autonomous laser process that imbues colors and forms in these works with an otherworldly feel, the artist mines the history of landscape painting, with an eye towards Caspar David Friedrich, Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, and Thomas Moran. Similarly, the work of 19th century photographer Eadweard Muybridge, known primarily for his studies of motion and his learned expertise in darkroom photography, has informed Jackson’s interest in unearthly landscape scenes featuring perspectival distortions and uncanny coloration. With his new paintings, Jackson eschews stylistic signatures to investigate the complexities of authorship and undermine mythologies of artistic “genius.” As part of a process that combines physical and digital modes of making, the artist brings issues of materiality and form—as opposed to gesture and expression—to the fore of his latest works.

Replete with art historical allusions, the artist’s new landscape paintings also reference the conventions of landscape in science fiction film and literature, where the strange and familiar converge. Jackson creates these composite works by layering images sourced from landscape photography and painting as well as everyday scenes he has captured on his iPhone. As such, tensions between artifice and authenticity; reality and unreality; ambiguity and clarity cut across these highly detailed, hallucinatory scenes, eliciting curiosity and wonderment. Upending viewers’ expectations and initial impressions, Jackson’s complex works—rife with visual paradoxes—invite questions of medium, materiality, and meaning that are only answered through sustained consideration and interrogation.

Uniting visions of suburbia and the sublime, the exhibition’s sensorial offerings will extend to the olfactory realm. An ineffable scent—produced by the artist in collaboration with ArtOlfactionLab team at Bestscent—will linger throughout the gallery space. This immersive element will transport viewers into the imaginary environments and atmospheres of the landscapes on view.

The presentation will also include a sculptural work that directly references Huysmans’s novel Against Nature, in which the protagonist, Des Esseintes, uses his wealth to enjoy any and all pleasures of the senses within his own hermetically sealed bubble of privilege. At one point in the story, Des Esseintes commissions a Parisian lapidary to encrust a living tortoise with jewels—he is unphased and unmoved when the tortoise dies upon delivery to his home. Connecting this character’s disregard for expense, labor, and conservation with present-day treatment of the natural environment, Jackson will present a ring inspired by Huysmans’s tortoise narrative in his exhibition. Created through a collaboration and trade between Jackson and designer Solange Azagury-Partridge, the ring, which is owned by the artist, will be displayed in a specially built case. With his inclusion of this piece, Jackson draws attention to his own embodiment of Huysmans’s critique, comparing the insularity of an artist’s studio with Des Esseintes’s self-imposed isolation from the rest of the world.


Featured Works

Matthew Day Jackson, Sunrise on the Matterhorn (after Bierstadt), 2023, Wood, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, fiberglass, UV pigment, lead, stainless steel frame, 79-3/4" × 59-1/4" × 2" (202.6 cm × 150.5 cm × 5.1 cm)
Matthew Day Jackson, Desolation (after Cole / Bierstadt), 2023, Wood, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, fiberglass, UV pigment, lead, stainless steel frame, 77-1/4" × 57-1/4" × 2" (196.2 cm × 145.4 cm × 5.1 cm)
Matthew Day Jackson, Solaris (after CDF), 2023, Acrylic paint, wood, glue, epoxy, UV pigment, bismuth, stainless steel, 81-1/4" × 57-1/4" × 2" (206.4 cm × 145.4 cm × 5.1 cm)
Matthew Day Jackson, Geyser (after Moran), 2023, Wood, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, fiberglass, UV pigment, lead, stainless steel frame, 81-1/4" × 57-1/4" × 2" (206.4 cm × 145.4 cm × 5.1 cm)
Matthew Day Jackson, Tower Falls (after WJL), 2023, Wood, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, fiberglass, UV pigment, lead, stainless steel frame, 79-5/8" × 58-1/4" × 2" (202.2 cm × 148 cm × 5.1 cm)
Matthew Day Jackson, Two Trees (after CDF), 2023, Wood, acrylic paint, urethane plastic, fiberglass, UV pigment, lead, stainless steel frame, 79-1/4" × 97-1/4" × 2" (201.3 cm × 247 cm × 5.1 cm)

Installation Views

Exhibition Film

Explore Against Nature with Matthew Day Jackson

In our new film, Matthew Day Jackson discusses his interest in convergences of the strange and the familiar in his otherworldly compositions and details about the sculptural and olfactory elements that figure in Against Nature.

Two Trees (after CDF) by Matthew Day Jackson


Painting as Illusion

Matthew Day Jackson on the Art Historical & Science Fictional Underpinnings of His New Landscapes

In this essay, Matthew Day Jackson discusses the art historical, science fictional, literary, and pop cultural allusions that emerge in his latest works.

Read Now


About the Artist

Matthew Day Jackson has cultivated a practice encompassing sculpture, painting, collage, photography, drawing, video, performance, and installation. Jackson’s work, which is often monumental in scale, engages with a wide range of subjects, from the historical and scientific to the futuristic and fantastical.

Learn More