American artist Jason DeMarte (b. 1973) skillfully embraces, then subverts, the passion for artifice that is ever-present in his native land, calling into question the national obsession with recasting the natural world as a dystopian fantasy of perfection achieved through plasticity and alteration. His work explores fixation with making things prettier than they actually are, of erasing “flaws” and character almost violently in a quest for a flawlessness that becomes grotesquely surreal. And yet, ever so enticing in its corn syrup sweetness, so much so that its appeal is that you know that there’s something sick about it, yet you long to throw caution to the wind.
DeMarte’s work is alluring, like a siren’s call, igniting a powerful tension between reality and illusion, reminding us how much we want to believe in our fantasies above all. The artist explains, “I am interested in the American 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.”
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