Tropical Punch

James Robert Durant


In Tropical Punch, James Robert Durant explores the idea of a purchase-able paradise. Provoking questions about the influence commercial advertising has on our imagination, Durant’s work touches on the ethics of photography, and the powerful ability it possesses to manipulate the boundaries of reality, perception, and desire.

 Durant assembles fictional photographic landscapes that blur the lines between truth, fantasy and the passing of time. He combines stressed images and composite techniques with acrylic medium to weather the surface of his images. Using photos from multiple sources, he creates dream-like landscapes of idyllic fantasy. By presenting his sun-bleached dreamscapes as impossible destinations, he suggests a crack in the illusions promoted by destination marketing.

Reach For The Sky (2008) presents a tropical scene assembled from photographs taken in several different countries. The combination of heightened vintage colors and exotic locations convey an idea of the constructed illusion. Dream is In Green (2009) playfully brings to mind McLuhan’s description of photographs as “dreams that money can buy.” Durant’s timeless images remind us that paradise is not a consumable, despite the way it is advertised, but rather, an energy shaped by our experiences and desires.