Artist uses branches to represent philosophy

"Graft" is the title of the newest art installation at Snow College. The artist is former gardener and carpenter Jim Jacobs.
“Graft” is the title of the newest art installation at Snow College. The artist is former gardener and carpenter Jim Jacobs.

Artist uses branches to represent philosophy


Robert Stevens

Managing editor



EPHRAIM—The latest art exhibit to grace the Snow College art gallery is all about the “curious intersection of people and the natural world,” says Gallery Director Adam Larsen, MFA.

“It’s a pretty amazing body of work,” said Larsen, who is a professor of art and also the department chair.

The exhibition is titled “Graft,” by artist Jim Jacobs.

About his exhibit, Jacobs wrote, “Clearly we are a much part of the natural world as other animals, yet there are reasons to believe we are somehow different. We look for ways to differentiate ourselves. We position ourselves above nature by declaring that we are its stewards. We position ourselves below by elevating the rest of nature to a romantic ideal. We look for natural cures and natural foods. We seek Natural Light beer and Nature Valley granola bars.

“However, as quickly as we draw distinctions between nature and ourselves, whether we reference tool usage or self-awareness, as our investigations progress these

divisions are blurred. Yet one difference remains clear, our incredible power, often destructive, to reshape the environment.”

Jacobs sculptures are, according to Larsen, made from limbs collected from Utah trees. The artist reportedly joins multiple thin strips of wood that have been sawed and planed to tree limbs through a process of notching and fitting.

“Metaphorically, he refers to this joinery as grafting,” Larsen said, “to echo the process that arborists use to make trees and plants more productive. At the point of intersection, the form and color of the limb and the lumber are nearly alike. However, as our eye travels along the natural limb, the branch transforms into something that is obviously human-made.”

Larsen adds, “In some of the works the lumber echoes the graceful form of the limb seeking to complement the aesthetic. In other works the limb transforms into a tool. It is unclear whether the tools are useful, impotent, or perhaps self-destructive.”

Jacobs grew up in Pennsylvania and has worked as both a gardener and a carpenter. He received his MFA in painting from East Carolina University in 1982.

The installation can be found in the Humanities and Arts building on the Snow Ephraim campus. It will run now through March 3.

An artist’s reception will be held on Friday, Jan. 20 from 6-8 p.m. Normal gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 8:3- a.m.-5:30 p.m.

If you have questions, contact Larsen at 283-7416 or adam.larsen@snow.edu.

More information may be found at http://www.snow.edu/art/gallery and on the artist’s website at http://www.jcjacobs.com.