Jason DeMarte





Jason DeMarte

Work from the series Utopic and Commercial Appeal.

DeMarte’s use of the dyptich is really stunning. Shown in order. 

“Utopic investigates how the artificial nature of our modern day interpretation of the natural world compares to the way we approach our immediate consumer world. I am interested in modes of representing the natural world through events and objects that have been fabricated or taken out of context. This unnatural experience of the so-called “natural” world is reflected in the way we, as modern consumers, ingest products. What becomes clear is that the closer we come to mimicking the natural world, the further away we separate ourselves from it.
 
I work digitally, combining images of fabricated and artificial flora and fauna with graphic elements and commercially produced products such as processed food, domestic goods and pharmaceutical products. I look at how these seemingly unrelated and absurd groupings and composites begin to address attitudes and understandings of the contemporary experience. I represent the natural world through completely 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.  

The project grew out my treasured experiences visiting natural history museums. I grew up in Colorado and visited the Denver Natural History Museum quite often. As a child, I remember being transfixed by the exhibits of animals and of environments for their ability to transport me to another time and place. I recently went back and visited these vistas again and it stuck me how convincing and surreal this experience was, almost hyper real, a perfect real, the way the natural world should look in its most utopian state. Yet nothing I was viewing had anything to do with the natural world. It was all a placebo of handmade painted flowers and stuffed carcasses which trick the mind into believing one is having this epic “natural” experience. 

I began to see this metaphor everywhere in my immediate world; I saw this symbolically played over and over, from the food and medicine we ingest, and the spaces we inhabit, to the products that promise a “better” life. I began to construct images that spoke about this universality of contemporary experience. By comparing these objects and environments I created a dialog of consumption; a reordering of modes of understanding through a mass-media consumer lens to challenge the viewer with seemingly absurd pairings and constructions.”

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