Wide in scope and varied in media, Terranaut by Matthew Day Jackson is an arresting testament to human nature. Jackson deftly portrays the violence, creativity, brutality, and perseverance of humankind, reflecting deeply on the repetition of certain emotions that have influenced history.

Jackson’s art is deeply abstract and amazingly varied in the media used to create it. He uses yarn, wood, abalone, acrylic, lead, glass, aluminum, formica, onyx, mother of pearl, rubber, plastic, metal, military blankets, concrete, and steel to create an exhibit that illustrates the vices and the accomplishments of mankind.

His “Dymaxion Skeleton” is, as its name suggests, a skeleton, crafted mostly from Dymaxion triangles. It illustrates the analytical aspect of humans (via the perfectly connected Dymaxion triangles) while depicting the destructive spectrum in humans (via the presence of a deracinated root serving as a foot for the skeleton).

Jackson also portrays violence intertwined with community ideals. His work, “Time Magazine, December 4, 1978,” illustrates the tragic Jonestown Massacre. Piles of corpses litter the black ground and a vat of poisoned juice (created by use of lead) sits heavily at the center of the image. This work is a copy of the infamous Time magazine cover entitled, “Culture of Death.” Another work depicting bloodshed as a community is his work “Here and Now.” This piece portrays the Jonestown complex surrounded by dead bodies. The expansive background is a copy of Albert Bierstadt’s “Donner Lake from the Summit.” This piece connects the horrific Jonestown massacre with the tragic demise of the Donner party. The Donner party was a group of early settlers that, after becoming lost on their way to California, were waylaid in a brutal storm that killed four people of the group. The survivors resorted to cannibalism; only seven settlers survived; the others were cannibalized. He connects these two works by showing the deadly consequences of conformity in communities.

Terranaut illustrates varied themes of civilization through deeply creative means. His powerful subject matter and interesting means of conception are sure to both captivate and inspire.