Surrealist “digital paintings” highlight man’s disconnection with nature

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Artist photographer Jim Naughten explores the depths of nature and history with his captivating works that blur the lines between many 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 works of art that place various species of wild animals in technicolor dreamy landscapes. 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, they’re a bit of both. Combining his experiences in painting and photography, Naughten has created his own unique artistic practice which he calls “digital painting”. By using various editing programs to digitally enhance his images, he creates something entirely new and unknown that bypasses the line between fact and fiction.

“I think I’ve spent most of my photography career slowly coming back to the canvas,” Nuaghten told My Modern Met. “I found the transition to digital photography quite difficult until I realized that I could edit images and create entirely new images using post-production programs like Photoshop. It reminds me of working with oil on canvas – going back to work over and over again, sometimes for weeks, changing colors and elements, using brush tools until I’m happy with the result final.

From orangutans swaying among electric blue leaves to a huge bear standing in the vibrant pink meadows of a cavernous valley, images from another Naughten word featured in eremozoic are beautiful but disturbing. In addition, these mystifying visions veil a deeper message of humanity’s growing estrangement from the natural world. The title of the exhibition borrows a term coined by biologist and writer EO Wilson that aims to describe the current era of Earth development. Also called the Age of Loneliness, the Eremozoic Age is characterized as a period of mass extinction due to human activity. Naughten strives to capture this sense of dissolution and disorientation with his 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’s getting worse and worse day by day. We desperately need to give some space to nature and wildlife. I hope my project can help raise awareness a bit… I would like people to watch A life on our planet with David Attenborough, who concisely sums up everything I have learned over the past decade. It is important to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis and to think about how we can live more lightly on the planet.

eremozoic is on display at the Grove Square Galleries in London until November 18, 2021. For more information on the exhibition or to take a virtual tour of the gallery, visit their website.

In his new series entitled eremozoic, artist Jim Naughten combines photography and painting in surreal images that place various species of wildlife in vividly colored dreamlike landscapes.

Eremozoic surrealism art combining photography and paintingSurrealist digital paintings by Jim NaughtenEremozoic surrealism art combining photography and paintingEremozoic surrealism art combining photography and paintingSurrealist digital paintings by Jim Naughten

His mystifying digital paintings veil a deeper message of humanity’s growing estrangement from the natural world.

Eremozoic surrealism art combining photography and paintingSurrealist digital paintings by Jim Naughten

The intention of this series is to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis.

Eremozoic surrealism art combining photography and paintingSurrealist digital paintings by Jim NaughtenSurrealist digital paintings by Jim Naughten

Jim Naughten: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met has granted permission to show photos of Jim Naughten.

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