Jeffrey J. DaCosta | Current Portfolio

Please click images for quick reference portfolio and scroll down for selected artwork statements 

Images # 1-4 "Parcel" series, 2012 to Present

Digital photo on aluminum

4 Editions of 12

24" X 30"      

The Parcel series is designed as an exploration of the meaning of land and the significance of its designation and control.  Photographed entirely in public lands throughout the Sonoran desert, the images utilize night as a psychological or spiritual filter to reveal the unbridled potential of the raw frontier. In the blackness, the wild and the desire to control the wild, coexist. Light emitting squares in the foreground of each image reference the surveyor’s grid and burn with all the want and need of civilization. These cartographic runes connect to the distant glow of cities lost over the horizon and pose the question of “what is inevitable?”. In these works we are frozen at the crossroads of human will and glance headlong into the mystery of an awesome power just beneath our feet.


Images # 5-6, "Decoys" 2016

Installation- Located at 9180 E Indian Bend Rd. Suite E2 Scottsdale AZ 85240

INFLUX, Scottsdale Public Art 

Life size wood deer silhouettes, U.V. reactive paint, and steel

The “Decoys” installation consists of 14 free-standing deer silhouettes painted in the style of thermal imagery.  Constructed of birch panels and painted with florescent ultraviolet light sensitive paint and the group is scattered throughout  a dormant retail space at the heart of a bustling outdoor mall in Scottsdale. 

The title is a playful inversion of something that isn’t presented as something that is, while also eluding to a deeper context. As new technology allows us to see things we previously could not, we explore a netherworld of new information. In the example of this installation, technology not only reveals what is presently un-seen but affords a glimpse of what once was. In essence, a space of the past through a lens of the future.



Images # 7-10, "Great Exchange" 2010


Landscape painting- soil, livestock glue asphalt top sealant, industrial traffic safety 

yellow enamel- 5’9” x 4’1” x 6” Chairs- aluminum- 4’9” x 2’3” x 2’1”

      A large landscape painting and two complimenting horn chairs are composed to create an installation harkening to the parlor of the eighteenth century American West. The selection of this genre serves to illustrate connections of resource attainment and conversion, as it has taken place in our inherited and mythological past. The conversion of material in the service of humanity is a direct and tangible equation. Unlike classical paintings of manifest destiny that represented raw land unfettered by use, this installation is indicative of the prospect of civilization. In contrast the painting represents destiny manifest, civilization attained and the land as material put to purpose. The two aluminum chairs serve as atmospheric compliments to the painting. The aluminum furnishings convey a decadence of surplus, culminated in the form of luxury through the contemporary and modern material so long divorced from its livestock counterpart.

Images # 11-12 "Great Exchange 2, Red-tail Hawk  and Golden Eagle Wings, 2015

Kevlar and carbon fiber weave

Hawk-25” x 11” x 3” each

Eagle- 42" x 16" x 4" each

     The wing series explores the exchange of material from one form to another. In this case a symbol of American wilderness is converted through technology from flesh and feather to a purposed stagnation. With broken planes, the piece has the detail of the animal it replicates. Displaced feathers un-idealistically rendered in areas that meet the creature’s body speaks to the animal’s absence and reinforces the trade of the living and temporal for the ageless yet inanimate

Images # 16-18, "New Trophy" 2012

Taxidermy elk form, steel, fluorescent-pink survey flags

4’ x 4’5” x 6’

          New Trophy serves as a contemporary manifestation of power. Formally derived from the tradition of hunting culture, the trophy mount acts as the apex signifier of power in the form of over 2000 fluorescent-pink survey flags. This conversion addresses not merely the culling of resources of a region, such as fauna, rather its reveals the management, regulation, and control of the land itself as the true symbol of power.

Images # 19-20  "Thermal Paintings" 2014 to Present

Oil on board

Moose- 42” x 32”

Pronghorn-13" x 13"

        As an appropriation of western American wildlife painting, through the “Thermal Painting Series” I seek to create works of a uniquely contemporary esthetic. By rendering traditional scenes as though the subject was viewed through thermal imaging, my intent is to not only place the nostalgia of the past in the technological present, but also explore the meaning of such scientific advancement. Through this lens of living heat, the posture and intent of the viewer is naturally altered or even revealed. 

Images # 21-23 "Icons" 2015 


24" x 12" x 6" each

      The American buffalo, as an icon, is a contrary symbol divorced from its origins. In the late 1800s the U.S. Governments effort to destroy the last free indigenous peoples of the plains culminated in the eradication of their primary source of sustenance. Thus the slaughter of bison transitioned from recreation and trade to official federal policy. Never before had a nation sought to eradicate an entire species for political agenda.
      The resulting bone fields that spanned thousands of miles through the middle of America were witnessed by passengers returning east on the same trains that brought the hunters west just years prior. These vestiges marked the transition of untamed wilderness to civilization in the minds of Americans with such significance that the buffalo skull became an indelible icon of progress.  A long discarded remnant loved and romanticized if only for its purposed absence.
      Today, over a century later, the same lands that once supported these herds are besieged again by waves of progress. With technological advancements allowing for the harvesting of resources previously out of reach, the Great Plains reverts to its old role in America’s boom and bust protocol. Composed of ubiquitous black petrol based plastic, a byproduct of human endeavor, “New Icons” serves as a reference to our selective memory and the part we play in its creation. 


Images # 26-29, "Rain Catchers" 2011 – 2012

Recycled aluminum; outdoor installation, rain catchers

24’ to 15’ in length

Installation: Biosphere 2, Oracle AZ

       As a community-based project installed on the campus of Biosphere 2, Rain Catchers consists of forty cast aluminum rain-gathering devices fabricated from casts of children’s hands. The purpose of appropriating a child’s hand into a water-gathering device relates to the responsibilities that the future generations face. As resource management fades from preference and rematerializes as critical necessity, the burden or opportunity to solve these problems becomes the unique obligation of today’s youth. For these reasons, the child’s hand represents both hope and faith in the human element. Modern technology is represented in its conversion to the enduring material of aluminum. The merger of its form to the funnel and pipe is the intellectual and scientific design that unites the elements to collective purpose. By placing the hands amongst the plant life there is a conceptual synergy between the manmade and the natural. Thus a solution of management is illustrated through symbiotic systems and a solution revealed.

Images # 30-34, "Resource Resist" 2010-2012

Concrete and steel

40' x 80'

      Resource Resist functions as an inversion of the natural environment to the unnatural through intended design. The installation consists of sixteen concrete pavers cast from four different terrains found on the outskirts of the Tucson city-limits, BLM or open range areas. Each mold is cast as a concrete paver upon which various additional cast environmental forms are added. In this way, a tangible material exchange is evident and the viewer is confronted with the equation in a physical form. If we focus on the feature of the barrel cactus, the natural organism or signifier of life that would be commonly found in this location, the feature has been replaced with human intent/function. The objectification of living organisms through artistic arrangement and aesthetic garden-scapes further creates a sense of unease in the displacement and environmental impact questioning our value of nature.

Images # 35, 36,  "Respirator" 2009

Concrete, air filters, and steel;

24' x 18'

Installation: Graduate Annex Gallery University of Arizona, Tucson AZ

       As an exploration of material conversion and its symbolic equations, the Respirator installation deals with a notion of exchange. In this example, the organic air purifier that naturally resides in the desert, the saguaro cactus, is removed from the exterior environment. It is then brought inward as a modern technological device that references human purpose by being made entirely out of air conditioner filters. The intent of the forms is to create a truly alien landscape that is accepted by its representation of organic life.

Images #37-39 "Dead Space" 2005

Bronze, sand and flame  
Installation: Beth Allison Gallery, Kansas City MO
30' x 60" 

        The military definition of Deadspace is defined as a slight depression in the earth, low ground, or any depression that is rendered inaccessible through direct-fire weapon systems. In this installation, sand descends from the walls and corners of the gallery to create the topographic depression. The viewer is forced to walk in the center, or low ground, in order to proceed through the gallery space. The bronze rifles, which line each embankment, compound the relationship between the viewer and the strategic environment. The two weapons depicted are those of contemporary wars involving the U.S., the Automat Kalashnikov 47 and the M4 carbine. Each weapon presents the archetypal element of reverence, memory, and life itself in the form of a single flame emitted from each barrel. This is less a representation of death and more a symbol of the struggle of those who utilize death as a tool. The weapons represent the endurance of such things and the volition inherited by its practice. The intention of this installation is to afford the viewer a brief moment free of bias, to allot a space sacred and removed from dismissive cynicism, in order to foster a relationship to the subject matter on an intrinsic level. By mimicking the terrain of battlefields, the viewer is not only integrated into the notions of warfare, but is a participant, and thus a sense of accountability is inferred.

Images # 40-42, "Ribbon Blanket Series, Bronze Star and Prisoner of War" 

2006 – Present


36” x 36”

           Each blanket within the series is patterned after U.S. Army Award or Campaign ribbons. The objective of this series is to draw a tangible connection to the military class and those whom they serve, while also producing an object of practical use and symbolic power. The blankets are intended for newborns, thus establishing the intrinsic connection between ideal and action, the preservation of life, and the cultural practice of what that preservation warrants.

Please contact the artist for information regarding unlisted artwork statements