Eremozoic, Grove Square Galleries’s first exhibition in the photographic medium, will present a new series by artist Jim Naughten, whose vibrant digital works confront our modern-day disconnection from the environment.
Naughten’s striking vision aims to highlight the perilous state of the natural world. Trained in photography and painting, he combines both backgrounds in a practice he refers to as “digital painting”, using digital enhancement programmes to conjure worlds that feel familiar yet strange. Using fictional fantasy of our natural environment, he alerts us to its rapid disappearance and our growing estrangement.
At the heart of Naughten’s work is a strong interest in scientific and biological theory, as reflected in the exhibition title. Eremozoic is a term coined by biologist and writer E O Wilson to describe today’s era of the Earth’s development, characterised by a period of mass extinction induced by human activity. The Eremozoic Age is alternatively referred to as “The Age of Loneliness”; this sense of dislocation is captured in Naughten’s depiction of nature as an unfamiliar realm.
Inspired by dioramas of animal forms found in natural history museums, Naughten extrapolates these images and reimagines them in digital, defamiliarised and unrealistic contexts. He draws attention to our rose-tinted view of the future of the natural world by exoticising his landscapes with a heightened, artificial colour palette and his technique evokes a style close to magic realism, in which the boundary between fact and fiction, imagination and reality, becomes blurred.
“Eremozoic is a continuation of my practice but undoubtedly my most important project to date,” says the artist. “I’m interested in how, in the evolutionary blink of an eye, humans have come to dominate and overwhelm the planet and how far our relationship with the natural world has fundamentally and dangerously shifted from that of our ancestors.
“I hope the work will create awareness and discourse about this disconnection, our fictionalised ideas about nature and possibilities for positive change.”
Dazzling us with new perspectives on our relationship with nature, Jim Naughten’s Eremozoic presents an eye-catching body of work that encourages us to look – and think – twice.
Eremozoic, a solo exhibition by Jim Naughten will be running at Grove Square Galleries from 7 October – 18 November 2021