Art Shows

Invasive Biomes at MadLab

July 2, 2014 – COLUMBUS, OHIO – As an artist and observer of natural occurrences, artist Jonah Jacobs’ ceaseless goal to unlock the mysteries of natural structures can be explored during a very special exhibition, “Invasive Biomes,” running July 11–26 at MadLab Theatre.

“Nature presents itself in a dizzying array of organic shapes and structures. From the graceful spiral arms of galaxies to the nebulous webs created by tree roots, to the hexagonal geometry of honeycomb – the structures of nature are wondrous creations where beauty meets function, and the repeating of simple patterns enigmatically give rise to complexity,” Jacobs says. “Whereas some artists paint a two-dimensional representation of a bush, flower, or some other naturally occurring element onto canvas, my work instead deconstructs such elements, extracting from them their inherent qualities, so as to later recreate these qualities by means of capturing and presenting the essence of their magical form and poetic beauty.”

View this exhibition July 11–26 during the MadLab theatre production, “The Young Writers Short Play Festival” at 227 North 3rd Street in Columbus. There is no admission to view the artwork. Hours are: July 11, 12, 18, 19, 25 and 26 from 7:00–8:00pm and by appointment.

An opening reception with light refreshments will be held Saturday, July 12 from 5:00–7:00pm at MadLab Theatre and Gallery.



Mimesis: Sculptural Works by Jonah Jacobs and Rebecca Cross

Using distinctly different materials, Rebecca Cross and Jonah Jacobs both draw upon nature to create organic, whimsical sculpture that evokes forest, flower, and sea life. Both artists create a tension between weird and familiar, raw and delicate, creating a visual experience that feels oddly natural. The show was on view at Survival Kit, from Friday Sept.16th through Nov. 18th. The majority of the pictures for this show were taken by Raecheal Maxwell.

For more info on Surival Kit gallery, please check out their website at:

The above piece is a large sprawling install inspired by termite mounds. In the future I hope to include larger termitaria inspired spires. For this show I was limited by logistics and storage concerns which meant that I was unable to achieve the scale I had envisioned. The above pieces are made from cardboard, tubes, fabric, cotton swabs, Styrofoam, paint, dye, and salt. Sand was used as a base for mounting.  

The above piece was a smaller install inspired by various structural elements found in nature. it was approximately four feet long and a couple of feet wide. A couple of the spires were close to three feet tall. The smaller green pieces were all sculpted using fire. Sometimes I not only try and mimic the aesthetic and structural aspects of nature but I also use natural processes as a sculptural tool. The above pieces are made from cardboard, tubes, fabric, cotton swabs, Styrofoam, paint, dye, and salt. Sand was used as a base for mounting.  

The Mimesis show was the last show in which I installed the piece Input/Output. Each incarnation of this piece was slightly different. Input/Output was envisioned as a way to bring into the gallery work that I had been doing on a temporary basis out in nature. After this show I stripped as much of the material off of the log in hopes of using it in future work. The log was left to decay by the parking lot outside of the W. 78th street studios in Cleveland. I was surprised to find out that even after a month in the cold and rain, the dye and salt had yet to wash off. Input/Output is made from a decaying log, cardboard, tubes, fabric, paint, dye, salt, oatmeal, paper, and cotton swabs. 

Polyp #1
Mixed Media
4' x 6'

A sedentary animal characterized by a fixed base, column like body, and a free end with mouth and tentacles. Polyps tend to be cylindrical in shape and elongated along the axis of their bodies.           

The external form of the polyp varies from species to species. The column may be long and slender, or may be short, causing the body to appear almost disk‑like. The tentacles at the ends of the column, may be long and threadlike, or short, looking more like knobs or warts. The tentacles may be simple and unbranched, or their patterns may appear feathery.

Polyps tend to reproduce asexually by the method of budding. In many cases the buds do not separate from the parent but remain in continuity with it, forming colonies which can grow quite large. Minute differences in the method of budding create the variations witnessed in the colonies. The reef‑building corals are an example of polyp colonies.

Materials used: Various tubes such as: toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, gift wrapping tubes, etc.
Epsom salt, table salt, oatmeal. Acrylic paint and various fabric dyes. Various types of yarn, fabric softener sheets, cotton fill, cotton swabs, and various other pieces of fabric. Also used are paper, tissue paper, and plaster.

Brown and Rust Polyp #1 (top piece)
Orange Polyp #1 (bottom piece)
Bottom photo shows the two pieces juxtaposed next to each other.

Materials used: Various tubes such as: toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, gift wrapping tubes, etc.
Epsom salt, table salt, oatmeal. Acrylic paint and various fabric dyes. Various types of yarn, fabric softener sheets, cotton fill, cotton swabs, and various other pieces of fabric. Also used are paper, tissue paper, and plaster.

The above are a few examples of the "bloom" type pieces on display at Survival Kit gallery. There were eight similar styled pieces on display. With the exception of the one paper piece, these pieces were an attempt by me to see what I could do with Styrofoam. So far, Styrofoam has proven to be a difficult medium to use. I may in the future attempt further pieces using this medium, but for now I am content working with more malleable recycled and up-cylced materials like paper and cardboard. 

Materials used: Styrofoam, cotton swabs, paint, dye, and paper.


The above are a small example of some of the "cup bottom" pieces on display at Survival Kit Gallery. These pieces utilize various up-cycled and recycled materials altered to look like organic growths. The materials are placed in cup bottoms which are the perfect vessel for creating these organic looking works of art. 

Materials used: Paper cup bottoms, cotton swabs, cardboard, paper, paint, dye, salt, and plaster. 

A small selection of smaller works done on canvas. Small pieces such as those shown above are my test platforms for trying out new materials, techniques, and textures. These help me hone my techniques and allow my to experiment with new styles. 

Materials used: Cotton swabs, paint, dye, salt, plaster, cardboard, and various fabrics. 

The following pictures are examples of Kent State professor Rebecca Cross' work which was also on display at Survival Kit along with my work. I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. Unfortunately my "tourist" type camera could not adequately capture the beauty of Rebecca's work.

For more information concerning Rebecca Cross' art work please check out here website at:

Unnatural Selections

The Unnatural Selections show was my second solo show. The show took place at Studio 2091 in Cuyahogs Falls Ohio. The show was on display from Jan. 7th - 28th.

The synopsis of the show is as follows:

           Natural selection is a key process in evolution by which organisms pass on their traits. These traits become more or less common in a given population due to persistent changes which effect the reproduction and survival of its genetic forbearers.
            Another form of selection is called artificial selection. Artificial selection occurs when human breeders select plants and animals for reproduction which possess traits desirable to human needs.
            The works of art in this show however, neither being a product of evolution nor of artificial selection, are created by a process I call unnatural selection. The pieces are unnatural in the sense that they lack a real biology and hence have no ability to replicate. Yet, with the guiding hand of the artist, these works do evolve over time. To achieve a sense of evolution in my work, I start with a basic design principle -- I then restrict myself to a few basic shapes, colors, and textures. The combination of these shapes, colors, and textures, as they are combined and recombined into an ever expanding array of patterns, create through repetition of form, dense and rich organic looking structures. My art work, in a sense, grows out of itself as it expands across whatever space it is I am working on.
            Recently, in an attempt to further blur the line between what is produced by nature and what is produced by the artist, I have begun to incorporate organic matter into my art pieces. I also use natural forces to help in the process of creation and transformation. Sometimes I use fire as means to sculpt with. The tension between controlling the fire as it sweeps across a structure I built, and the somewhat unpredictable nature of fire, adds a sense of volatility and randomness to my art work. I also use water and gravity in conjunction with one another to push dyes and paints down a surface and, as of late, I have begun to experiment with tidal forces, erosion, and decay.
            In viewing my art work, I hope the observer will realize that my art is not only an exploration into the structure of nature – an unnatural selection which blurs the distinction between what is organic and merely organic looking, but that every art piece is also in itself, an experiment which leads to new discoveries.    

The following are some pictures from the show.



  1. Just noticed your comment. Thanks for the kind words -- I appreciate it.