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University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) pres.

Jason DeMarte: Garden of Artificial Delights
Jason DeMarte: Garden of Artificial Delights presents an enigmatic world filled with unexpected and unsettling sensory temptations. In this immersive installation of photographs and wallpaper, Michigan-based photographer Jason DeMarte weaves together detailed images of fauna (birds, caterpillars, and moths) and flora (local plants and flowers). Each scene is set against ominous cloudy skies, which rain melted ice cream, whipped topping, candies, and glossy paint. Overburdened with decorations, the flowers and plants begin to decay, leaving the birds and insects unable to survive for long in this overly sweet environment. DeMarte’s illusionistic landscapes recall the long tradition of still life painting in Europe and America, and a rich history of fantasy environments represented in literature and film—from Alice’s Wonderland to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Yet, his images decidedly foreground the complicated visual circumstances of our contemporary moment and provoke us to consider this imagined and oversaturated world as analogous to our own.

Support for Jason DeMarte: Garden of Artificial Delights is provided by P.J. and Julie Solit, Amelia and Eliot Relles, and the Herbert W. and Susan L. Johe Endowment.

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