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, Hi-Fructose, Oxford American, Southwest Contemporary, Adobe Create Magazine, Photo District News, 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 Exposure Photo Festival, Contemporary Calgary, 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 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.
I am interested in modern understandings of the natural world and how that compares to the way western society approaches its immediate consumer environment. It’s important for me to compare established idealist utopian ways of representing the landscape to the hyper-perfect way products and modern consumer life are represented in media. I’m particularly interested in the idea of disillusionment through false or misleading representation. I’m interested in creating photographs that merge augmented 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. I work digitally combining images of enhanced flora and fauna with commercially produced and processed products. I look at how these seemingly unrelated and absurd groupings or composites begin to address attitudes and understandings of the contemporary experience. I represent the natural world through unnatural elements 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.
My 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. My process 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 I draw inspiration from painting, specifically naturalist painting from movements like the Hudson River School. I’m interested in rekindling the romantic notions of nature while simultaneously subverting those romantic notions by juxtaposing pop consumption and visual gluttony.