With natural roots and social references, provocative wood sculptures evolve from everyday objects—courtesy of Utah artist Jim Jacobs
Jim Jacobs draws his inspiration from the complexity of our environment and its organisms. His sculptural pieces graft everyday items like chairs and baseball bats made from wood, an ancestral and enduring material.
Through his careful technique of splintering and joining, familiar shapes transcend their base forms as merely functional objects. Instead, their bold deconstructions offer insight into our storied history with the natural world. Take his piece “Breach” for example, which Jacobs created using long strips of laminated and carved maple to shape a baseball bat. “One reason I titled it ‘Breach’ is because its gesture reminds me somewhat of the angle of a whale as it thrusts its head out of the water,” he says.
Although made from organic material, the piece is far from a sedate representation of nature. Erratic swirling forms confer a feeling of chaos—an intentional interpretation by Jacobs. “The work was also influenced by the fact that baseball is such a strong American icon and that some January 6th insurrectionists attacked the Capitol with baseball bats.” Jacobs’ material choice deeply impacts and inspires his sculptures. “Wood has a physicality and a relationship to our bodies and our lives that reaches back to our arboreal past,” says Jacobs. “It lends itself to be metaphors for us, our social and political idiosyncrasies, and our peculiar role in nature.”
Jim Jacobs, jcjacobs.com; shown by Modern West Fine Art, SLC