Jim Naughten is a photographic artist whose enchanting and illusory body of work explores our modern-day disconnection from nature.
After being awarded a painting scholarship to Lancing College, Naughten studied photography at the Arts Institute of Bournemouth. Drawing on both of these backgrounds, he describes his practice as ‘digital painting’, using digital enhancement programmes to conjure the striking and alluring worlds of his images. Working in a style close to magic realism, his art blurs the line between truth and fiction, fantasy and reality, nature and the unnatural.
Engaging with biological and scientific theory, Naughten’s most recent work is inspired by E. O. Wilson’s idea that we are living in the Earth’s Eremozoic period: characterised as an age of loneliness following mass extinctions caused by human activity. His images are based on dioramas found in natural history museums all over the world, reimaging these animal forms in defamiliarised contexts and with a heightened colour palette. By creating these new and disorientating perspectives, he encourages us to reflect on themes such as our relationship with wildlife and the future of biodiversity and the planet.
Naughten’s work has been widely featured in exhibitions across Europe and the US. This includes solo shows at the Imperial War Museum, Horniman Museum, and a forthcoming show at the Wellcome Collection (2022), as well as group shows at the Royal Academy of Art and National Portrait Galleries in London. His work is included in collections such as The Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego; The Imperial War Museum (UK); and private collections worldwide. He was nominated for the Prix Elysee 2016 and shortlisted for the Vevey Images photo award 2012.