Wood is deeply entwined in our lives. It continues to be the medium from which we create many of the ob- jects we use in our everyday lives. Tables where we eat, chairs that support us, beds where we sleep, even our homes are still built of former trees. Wood, and the objects we create from it, have a physicality and a relationship to our bodies and our lives that lend themselves to be metaphors for us, our social and political idiosyncrasies and, in particular, our role in nature.
In many of my sculptures, natural tree limbs are joined to milled lumber, wooden tools, furniture, and human hair. I refer to these fusions as grafts. In the traditional sense, grafting is a process used to join two distinct plants, often trees, to make them more productive. In my works, these grafted combinations—gangly, elegant, contrived, fragile, and at times self-destructive—are reflections on our peculiar relationship with the rest of the natural world.
Jim Jacobs was born in Philadelphia. He earned a BFA in painting at Jacksonville University in FL and an MFA in painting from East Carolina University in NC. In 1985 he moved to Ogden, UT where he was a professor of visual arts at Weber State University until 2015. From the 1980’s through the 1990’s he made large sculptural paintings that consisted of multiple stretched canvases. Those paintings blurred the boundary between the painting itself and its environment.
Gradually, with an increasing interest in the relationship between humans and the environment, he first eliminated canvas and wove tree branches through the structures then later joined tree branches to milled lumber, wooden tools, furniture, and human hair. In 2019 Jacobs was awarded the Utah Visual Arts Fellowship and in 2020 he won the Grand Prize at the Rocky Mountain Biennial at the Museum of Art Fort Collins.