Jake Lahah, MFA 2024

Thesis Exhibition: March 20-23 

Reception: March 22, 6-8 pm 

2024, mixed media installation, dimensions variable.

Untitled (planter), 2023, Home Depot bucket, house paint, sticks, dying palm leaves, synthetic flowers, concrete, 48" x 15" x 15". 

Artist Statement

My work examines how the built environment is a two part formula: a material syntax that collaborates with an aesthetic facade. I study how advertising and aesthetics can be tools for examining the political underbelly of spaces. Currently, I’m investigating the immigration of palm trees to the U.S., using beach tourism as a case study for my research. I’m interested in how the palm tree in construction and concept is a utopian symbol for western ideology. I complicate this relationship by bringing conversations of labor and its proximity, sometimes attachment, to aesthetic foregrounds.

It’s best to speak of my palette as one of informal economies - I work with materials that speak of labor such as milk crates, packaging, plants, concrete, trash, and printed materials that are bartered and traded. This process is a reflection of our modern industrial complex, the production of producing more for cheaper while compromising integrity and stability. By creating built environments from prints, crafts, and constructions, I’m reiterating placemaking is a marketing scheme that has a deep history worth revealing.

More information about Jake Lahah at https://www.jakelahah.com/  

All photos are credited to the artist.