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


Temporal installations recorded as a digital photo series, prints on aluminum  

24" X 32" 

   The Parcel series is a collection of outdoor temporal installations that explores the ethereal meaning of land and the significance of its purposed designation and control. Placed at several locations on public and BLM wilderness areas, they attempt to mirror a psychological or spiritual relationship to environment in the west. Darkness, eternally a metaphor for the unknown and supernatural, is emblematic of the landscape romanticized.  In the environment cloaked, we foster our greatest hopes of the undiscovered and un-ventured frontier. Here the unseen takes the shape of our imagination. In its blackness dreams and nightmares coexist only to be dissolved analyzed and dismissed with the light of the next day.  A radiating grid or singular parcel serves as the modern mark of humankind. In the documentation of these momentary works, dawn never comes to reveal the ghosts as sagebrush or aspirations as stars. Here we glance at mystery and potential, the notion of a great and awesome power just beneath our feet.

   

Images # 5-6, "Decoys" 2016

IInstallation
INFLUX, Scottsdale Public Art 
Life size wood deer silhouettes, U.V. reactive paint, and steel
 
    The Decoys installation consists of 16 free-standing deer silhouettes painted in the style of thermal imagery.  Constructed of birch panels and painted with florescent ultraviolet light sensitive paint, the group is scattered throughout a dormant retail space at the heart of a bustling outdoor mall in Scottsdale AZ. The title is reference to 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 it also affords a glimpse of what once was. In essence, an image of the past through a lens of the future.

 

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Images # 7-10, "Great Exchange" 2010

Installation
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 arranged to create an installation harkening to the parlor of the nineteenth century American West. The selection of this genre illustrates connections of material attainment and conversion as it has taken place in our inherited and mythological past. The conversion of resources in the service of humanity is a direct and tangible equation. Unlike classical paintings from the period of manifest destiny representing land unfettered by use, the painting is indicative of the civilizations path, the road itself. In contrast it represents destiny manifest, civilization attained, and the land as material put to purpose. The two aluminum chairs serve as atmospheric compliments to the painting. From the history of the cattle yards and slaughter pens, the aluminum horn furnishings symbolize the legacy and decadence of surplus. Like the originating cast off-horns bent to form chairs, these too are a form of luxury but through the uniquely modern discarded material of aluminum, seemingly 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
Golden Eagle- 42" x 16" x 4" each
Redtail Hawk- 25” x 11” x 3” 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.  The bio mechanical  spirit in exchange for advanced human utility.

Images # 16-18, "New Trophy" 2012

Foam, steel rebar, fluorescent-pink survey flags
4’ x 4’5” x 6’ 

          New Trophy serves as a contemporary manifestation of achievement. Formally derived from the rich tradition of hunting culture, the piece acts as an apex signifier of individual power. With the adaptation of over 2000 fluorescent-pink survey flags, this conversion addresses not merely the culling and appropriation of resources, such as fauna but also the management, regulation, and control of the land itself as a true measure of dominance.


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 

Plastic
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 Anglo Americans with such significance that the buffalo skull became an indelible icon of progress with remorse and thus nostalgia.  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 modern 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

Outdoor Installation
Concrete and steel
40' x 80'
 
      like many of my works, Resource Resist functions as an inversion of the natural environment to the unnatural through 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 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 the living 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

Installation
Concrete, air filters, and steel;
24' x 18'
 
       As an exploration of symbolic equations, the Respirator installation deals with a notion of organic/inorganic parallels. In this example, the air purifier that naturally resides in the desert, the saguaro cactus, is removed from the exterior environment and brought inward as a modern technological device 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

Cotton 
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