Surreal ‘digital paintings’ highlight man’s disconnection from nature
photographer artist Jim Naughten explores the depths of nature and history with her captivating works that blur the boundaries between multiple artistic mediums. Sometimes described as resembling magical realism, his striking digital masterpieces alter our view of reality and challenge our perspective on the world around us. In his last personal exhibition, Eremozoic, Naughten presents a new series of artworks that place different species of wild animals in technicolor dreamscapes. And the optical trickery of his technique makes it quite difficult for the eye to distinguish whether they are paintings or photographs.
The truth is that they are a bit of both. Combining his background in painting and photography, Naughten has created his own unique artistic practice which he calls “digital painting”. Using various editing programs to digitally enhance his images, he creates something entirely new and unfamiliar that walks the line between fact and fiction.
“I think I’ve spent most of my career in photography slowly coming back to the canvas,” Nuaghten told My Modern Met. “I found the transition to digital photography quite difficult until I realized I could edit images and create entirely new images using post-production programs like Photoshop. It reminds me of working with oil on canvas – coming back to work over and over, sometimes for weeks, changing colors and elements, using brushes until I’m happy with the end result.
From orangutans swinging among electric blue leaves to a huge bear standing in the vibrant pink meadow of a cavernous valley, Naughten’s otherworldly images featured in Eremozoic are beautiful but disturbing. Moreover, these mystifying visions veil a deeper message about humanity’s growing estrangement from the natural world. The title of the exhibit borrows a term coined by biologist and writer EO Wilson that aims to describe the current era of Earth’s development. Also called the Era of Loneliness, the Ereromozoic Era is characterized as a period of mass extinction due to human activity. Naughten strives to capture this sense of dissolution and disorientation with their unnatural depictions of nature.
“The idea is to explore our disconnection from the natural world, which is in serious trouble because of our actions,” says Naughten. “30,000 species disappear every year; it is getting worse day by day. We desperately need to give space to nature and wildlife. I hope my project can contribute a little to raise awareness… I would like people to watch A life on our planet with David Attenborough, who concisely summarizes everything I’ve learned over the past decade. It is important to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis and to think about how to live more lightly on the planet.
In his new series titled Eremozoic, artist Jim Naughten combines photography and painting in surreal images that place various species of wildlife in technicolor dreamscapes.
His mystifying digital paintings veil a deeper message about humanity’s growing estrangement from the natural world.
The intention of this series is to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis.