JASON DEMARTE

Interested in modern understandings of the natural world and how that compares to the way western society approaches its immediate consumer environment, DeMarte compares established idealist utopian ways of representing the landscape to the hyper-perfect way products and modern consumer life are represented in media.

Particularly interested in the idea of disillusionment through false or misleading representation, DeMarte’s photographs merge simulated forms of life and colorful processed foodstuffs with idyllic pop material goods, in an effort to create a dialog of consumption, duplicity and homogenized ecstasy. He works digitally, combining images of fabricated and artificial flora and fauna with commercially produced and processed products. Focusing on how these seemingly unrelated and absurd groupings or composites begin to address attitudes and understandings of the contemporary experience.

DeMarte represents the natural world through completely unnatural elements, in order to speak metaphorically and symbolically of our mental separation from what is “real”, and compare and contrast this with the consumer world we surround ourselves with as a consequence. Ultimately this work is an investigation into the manipulation of truth. His process draws from a long history of constructed narratives in photography, artist like Oscar Gustave Rejlander and Julia Margret Cameron, were early pioneers in manipulating truth with the medium, while later artists like Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall and Anthony Goicolea made the ordinary surreal with their highly choreographed stills. Similarly, DeMarte aims to simultaneously embrace a manipulation of truth by hyper exaggerating the ordinary and to also work within a kind of truth by utilizing the inherent believability of the photographic medium. Like the early tableau photographers, he draws inspiration from painting, specifically naturalist painting from movements like the Hudson River School.

Jason DeMarte is an established artist best known for his highly detailed and seductive flora and fauna photo assemblages. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums, both nationally and internationally. DeMarte has been featured in journals, textbooks and publications including; the British Journal of Photography, Huffington Post, Feature Shoot, Hi-Fructose, Oxford American, The Elements of Photography, Manifest, Photo Review, and Black Warrior Review. Some notable exhibitions include: The Museum of Un-natural History at Clamp Art, New York City; Context at Filter Photo Space, Chicago; and The National: Best Contemporary Photography 2015, Ft Wayne Museum of Art. DeMarte’s solo exhibitions include shows at: Rule Gallery in Denver, CO and in Marfa, TX; Denver Botanical Gardens in Denver, CO; Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art in Boulder, CO; University of Michigan Museum of Art; Wessell Synman Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa; the Detroit Center for Contemporary Photography in Detroit, MI; and Gallery Kayafas in Boston, MA. His series Confected is also part of Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography Midwest Photographers Project and his newest series Adorned was selected as one of Photo Lucida Critical Mass top 50 series. Jason is a tenured professor of art at Eastern Michigan University. He received his B.F.A. in Photography from Colorado State University and his M.F.A in Photography from the University of Oregon.

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