Born in the skeletal landscape of Southern Utah, nicholas b jacobsen was raised in a devout Mormon family. The drama of the high desert landscape, childhood trauma, and the mysticism of Mormonism shaped his worldview. He graduated, in 2012, with a BFA from Southern Utah University, where he studied ceramic pottery. He then moved to Omaha, Nebraska to work with international artist Jun Kaneko. There, he began making hyper-organized installations of detritus found in the space they are displayed, exploring ways of working with, learning from, and talking about place and our relationships to it. He then moved to Philadelphia where he continued to work with detritus through photography, video, and sculpture, the works becoming more personal with a rich quietness. He now lives in Albuquerque, in the uncannily familiar high desert to pursue an M.F.A. in Art & Ecology at the University of New Mexico. Here he explores the nature/culture dichotomy as a locus of falsity, queering common ideologies of "nature," and challenging the narrative of inevitability. nicholas was one of Omaha World Herald’s “Five Artists to Watch,” published in Things Organized Neatly and The Alibi, and won two Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards for Emerging Artist and New Media Artist, and assisted organizing the symposium the last oil.
As an interdisciplinary artist/researcher, I explore interrelationships of nature/culture to expose the ideologies used to divide humans from nature, and examine the value systems that benefit from this division. I adopt fluid/interpenetrating/multiplicitous/embodied/heterarchical praxes as alternatives to linear and delineated systems of order to decenter hierarchies that devalue, oppress, and abuse the Other.
I use an entanglement of text, social engagement, installation, sculpture, video, photography, and performance to challenge naturalized constructs of "nature." This multidisciplinary approach illuminates the problematic and sometimes harmful impacts of these mythicultural concepts, and asks, what is lost when we negate these primordial, interdependent relationships? Patriarchal masculinity reaches beyond the social in idioms like "heart of stone," "hellfire and brimstone," "nose to the grindstone," and "kill two birds with one stone," mirroring the coldness, hardness, and violence applied to both stones and "real men." I practice failure, futility, and vulnerability to meet this restrictive realm, addressing the risks and discomforts used to find intimacy and interconnection with more-than-human worlds in the face of a seeming monolith of coloniality, alienation, climate destruction, and the sixth extinction. Even mountains turn into sand.
Materials sourced from my direct environment--the phone/camera from my pocket, detritus in vacant lots, language of both idiomatic and academic spaces, etc.--are used to address and challenge the extractivist violence normalized in our consumer culture, and its implied necessity. I create works with/based-on the materials I have (access to), rather than finding "new" materials to fit my ideas, to practice listening to materials, collaborating with objects, and recognizing their agency. With a focus on their isness, I practice radical forms relating/co-becoming with my biotic and abiotic kin. If we can understand a piece of concrete as an "is", rather than an "it", how will our social and environmental relationships change?
Embodiment is always a part of my work whether I'm carrying concrete, trying to be a rock, or mentally digesting theory. Equally, I ask the audience to use their bodies--by walking, holding/reading a text, imagining themselves in geologic time, or contouring to the shape of a stone. As we "precariously position (our) bod(ies) between learned and lived ecologies," we can be with the complexity and tenuousness of our survival, and the lightness needed to stay with the problems therein. A second recurring element is reciprocity through time, as evidenced in the cycles the seasons; relations between grasses, manure, bovines; death that feeds life--the omnipresence of change. Perhaps, because of our shortsighted value systems, we tend to avoid change and seek security, and, in the process, lose our sense of self/other symbiosis that can only be experienced with sustained awareness through time. By "staying with the trouble" we can slowly cultivate multisensorial curiosity, intimacy/vulnerability, compassion, humility, and respect to create lasting transformations that decompose enmeshed hegemonies.
Starting from the Wikipedia definition of "Natural landscape" as "the original landscape that exists before it is acted upon by human culture," I wonder when we separated ourselves from nature and why? How is it, in an era of climatic interdependence, plant sentience, quantum physics, genetic modification, and ecology, we can maintain these "common sense" ideologies of unilateral individuality? How can Western humans believe themselves to be the peak of natural selection and the only unnatural force on Earth? This cognitive split erases crucial physical/mental/emotional/spiritual connections to biotic and abiotic "voices," our fellow humanimals, and our selves. How much longer can we sustain ideologies that serve to alienate and oppress, while supporting our modern lives?
 Shunryu Suzuki - Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice  Claire Pentecost - Beyond Face  Cat Hulshoff - HereNOW  Donna Haraway - Staying with the Trouble  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_landscape
nicholas b jacobsen firstname.lastname@example.org | nicholasbjacobsen.com
EDUCATION University of New Mexico M.F.A. Graduate Student 2017-Current Art & Ecology
Southern Utah University B.F.A in Studio Art 2009-2012 Ceramics
Dixie State College Associate of Science 2001-2009
EXHIBITIONS 2018 Two-Person | John Sommers Gallery | Albuquerque, NM in which they bathe with jellyfish Juried | UNM Art Museum | Albuquerque, NM HereNOW
2017 CFA Downtown | Albuquerque, NM At First Sight 2016 KANEKO | Omaha, NE OEAA Visual Art Nominee Showcase
2015 Michael Phelps Gallery, W. Dale Clark Library | Omaha, NE Public Public Petshop North Gallery | Omaha, NE MIXTAPE Solo | Petshop Gallery | Omaha, NE watching the ground Installation of works composed of various discarded materials from Kaneko Studio. Solo | Project Project | Omaha, NE reconsider Arranged remnants of a plumbing company, which once occupied the space, into an organized, imperfectly symmetrical installation Centerylink Center | Omaha, NE communication
2014 Michael Phelps Gallery, W. Dale Clark Library | Omaha, NE 2014 Survey: Omaha Artists Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts | Omaha, NE Flock House Inhabitants Gallery 72 | Omaha, NE Prospect Solo | Bemis Center for Contemporary Art | Flockhouse | Omaha, NE flock house arranged Objects left for the inhabitants to use were neatly put into a pattern on the floor. Solo | Outside | Omaha, NE come with nothing, leave everything Discarded objects found and arranged in abandoned lot. Gallery 72 | Omaha, NE Gang of Five
2013 Sally D. Francisco Gallery | Peters Valley Craft Center | Layton, NJ Riding the Wave: 30 years of Peters Valley Anagama
2012 Solo | The Grind | Cedar City, UT free to a good home Pottery completed post-baccalaureate stay at Southern Utah University Braithwaite Gallery | Southern Utah University | Cedar City, UT B.F.A. Exhibition Braithwaite Gallery | Southern Utah University | Cedar City, UT Earth Day
2011 Sally D. Francisco Gallery | Peters Valley Craft Center | Layton, NJ Faculty and Assistant Exhibition Moscow Clay Works | Scranton, PA Unabridged
2010 Rogue Gallery | Cedar City, UT Debut
2009 Braithwaite Gallery | Southern Utah University | Cedar City, UT Student Exhibition
ARTICLES | REVIEWS Michael J. Krainak | “ExtrA! ExtrA!” The Reader | January 2016 | www.thereader.com/story/extra_extra 2016
Casey Logan | “Art notes...” Omaha World Herald | September 2015 | http://www.omaha.com/go/art-notes- petshop-exhibit-features-artist-s-arrangements-of-found/article_82a20732-3727 -5500-9710-9e467047ff5f.html 2015
Kim Carpenter | “Five to Watch” Inspired Living Omaha | September-October 2015 | p. 50-51 2015
Austin Radcliffe | Nicholas Jacobsen, Reconsider, at Project Project Things Organized Neatly | Blog | thingsorganizedneatly.tumblr.com 2015
AWARDS | HONORS Best New Media Artist Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards 2015 Best Emerging Artist Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards 2015
RELATED EXPERIENCE Surface and Architecture Workshop | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Plasterer and Fabricator 2016 - 2017 Jun Kaneko Studio | Omaha, Nebraska Artist’s Assistant 2012 - 2015 Sugar Maples Center for Creative Arts | Maplecrest, NY Teaching Assistant Summer 2012 Southern Utah University | Cedar City, Utah Teaching Assistant 2010 - 2012 Peter’s Valley Craft Center | Layton, New Jersey Studio Assistant Summer 2011