The fall show season is off to a great start thanks to the work of Matthew Day Jackson. His most recent exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, “Something Ancient, Something New, Something Stolen, Something Blue” opened to large crowds Friday night. The vast 18th street space felt full not only by the sheer number of people in attendance but by the commanding force of Jackson’s work.
The space has been divided using large dry-wall partitions by the artist who has filled the newly designed spaces with paintings, photographs, sculptures and installations. True to his repertoire his range of mediums spans the spectrum adding new and interesting techniques to the equation with an impressive ability to combine traditional craft techniques with advanced computer mapping technology.
Jackson’s exhibition is packed with numerous complex themes often working together or against one another in a given work. Just a few of the themes addressed include anatomy, astronomy, topography, and machinery. In paintings and sculptures that are reminiscent of “Bodies… The Exhibition” Jackson displays the human body in a variety of dissected stages it what seems like an array of advanced anatomic studies.
One could say the focal point of the exhibition is a large bronze sculpture modeled after Rodin’s ‘Les Bourgeois de Calais’ and so titled ‘Burghers of Calais’ which dominates the main exhibition space. Jackson has combined Rodin’s sculpture with a 3-D map of the moon documenting lunar missions. Rodin’s heroes stand in for the astronauts who dedicated their lives in the name of space exploration.
Jackson has added another work to an on-going series called “Me, Dead”. In which he photographs himself as the subject in various forms of death rituals. With this new addition “Me, Dead at 39” his fascination with funeral customs has lead him to the tree burial rite. His body hangs, wrapped in a childhood blanket, from a tree in this most recent self-portrait.
One fact that is undeniable is the colossal range of Matthew Day Jackson. How he manages to combine scores of mediums, themes and materials and still construct a cohesive exhibition is beyond extraordinary. He is an artist not to be missed and his most recent show did not disappoint. The exhibition was an invigorating start to what promises to be an impressive show season.