Jason DeMarte

b. 1973

Lives and works in Ann Arbor, MI

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: Exposure International Photo Festival, Contemporary Calgary, 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.  Previous to teaching in Mississippi, Jason taught photography for three years at Zayed University, an all-Muslim women’s University in the United Arab Emirates.

DeMarte’s ouvre examines our cultural tendency to idealize the natural world while continually trying to improve upon it. DeMarte explores the veneer of material desire and constructed natural beauty by composing fictional tableaus that speak to our obsession with beauty, perfection, and excess. Meanwhile, underneath the bright colors is an oppressive sense of disenchantment. By “improving” on the natural elements with lighting and post-processing, nature becomes just another commercial good, victim to our material desires. Carefully arranged, and then “sweetened” with sugary items and bright primary colors, DeMarte’s confections are indulgent treats that play with the boundary between the contrived and the natural. In the end, the pieces mimic a consumer economy screaming for our attention and demanding that we desire more.