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Matthew Day Jackson at his studio in residency at Hauser & Wirth Somerset. Photo: Clare Walsh
08 Oct 2019

Foundations in Printmaking with Matthew Day Jackson

Working across a vast range of materials and processes, Matthew Day Jackson makes work about the ebb and flow of systems—both those that drive the world forward, as well as hold it back. The artist’s multifaceted practice encompasses sculpture, installation, painting, collage, photography, drawing, video, and printmaking.

Jackson’s foundational training as a printmaker laid the groundwork for his increasingly complex, multidisciplinary practice, which now encompasses a wide range of mediums and methodologies. ‘When I entered college and discovered printmaking, it seemed to fit within my ideas of labor and self-worth,’ says Jackson. ‘I come from a long line of working and making people and I’m proud of that. I grew up with a very clear metric system defining the hourly value of my labor, so in school, the ways that people evaluated art did not always make sense to me. Process and materials, and a boundary between success and failure gave me a clear goal. Between printmaking and team sports, I learned I could be good at something. And I came to truly love the printshop as a very creative space—it is a model for how I work in the studio today.’

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In process, Matthew Day Jackson, Solipsist, 2019 © Matthew Day Jackson

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In process, Matthew Day Jackson, Solipsist, 2019 © Matthew Day Jackson

As a maker, Jackson is attuned to developing work both with standard technical processes and experimenting with the limitations of different mediums. His latest printed work, Solipsist (2019), was created in his studio alongside esteemed printmaker, Ruth Lingen. This series exemplifies a signature element of Jackson’s work centered on a contemporary view of the natural world.

‘When I entered college and discovered printmaking, it seemed to fit within my ideas of labor and self-worth.’

Included in Jackson’s presentation at the 2019 IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair, ‘Solipsist,’ features an aerial view of a topographical landscape with a silver satellite hovering above in which Jackson constructs his vision of a universe in constant flux. Frequently monumental, his work imposes not only on a large physical scale, but also conceptually, occupying an intellectual terrain that reaches from ancient history to outer space exploration and discovery.

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Ruth Lingen and Matthew Day Jackson at Line Press Limited studio, Brooklyn, 2019

Often times, individual sculptures and paintings by the artist interconnect with each other to create complex scenarios that revisit history and reassemble its narratives. In his portfolio of printed works, Jackson utilizes familiar iconography, recycling culturally loaded images such as the geodesic structures of Buckminster Fuller, mankind’s first steps on the moon, and the covers of LIFE magazine from the ‘60s and ‘70s, cross-pollinating these and mixing them with numerous references from art history.

With his foundations in printmaking as an undergraduate at the University of Washington in Seattle, Jackson began his career in the art world as a professional printmaker, working for artists such as Richard Serra, Robert Rauschenberg, and Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles before relocating to the East Coast to obtain his MFA from Rutgers University. His oeuvre now grapples with big ideas such as the evolution of human thought, the fatal attraction of the frontier and the faith man places in technological advancement. In particular, the work addresses the myth of the American Dream, exploring the forces of creation, growth, transcendence, and death through visions of its failed utopia.

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Matthew Day Jackson, LIFE, June 5, 1944, 2014 © Matthew Day Jackson

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Matthew Day Jackson, Solipsist, 2019 © Matthew Day Jackson

In collaboration with The Lunchbox Fund, proceeds from Jackson’s ‘Solipsist’ (2019) will support the organization’s initiatives to combat the epidemic of childhood hunger in South Africa. At this year’s IFPDA, the artist has been awarded Jordan Schnitzer Award for Excellence in Printmaking. The award will be presented at IFPDA following a panel discussion between the artist and Jordan Schnitzer on Saturday 26 October at 1 pm.

Prints by Matthew Day Jackson were presented at Hauser & Wirth Editions booth during the 2019 IFPDA Fine Art Print Fair. Preview an exclusive selection of works presented at the fair in Hauser & Wirth Editions Catalogue, Volume II.

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