A new exhibition in Walton on Thames showcases the work of an artist inspired by his near-death experiences.

Artist Richard Adams lived through a traumatic last year, coming close to death several times as a result of a critical heart affliction.

Mr Adams said that the striking artworks now on display with free entry at the Robert Phillips Gallery in Walton were made after he battled flat-lining on a hospital bed while conscious, and struggled through recovery from four successive heart surgeries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and loneliness.

Speaking to the Surrey Comet, Mr Adams recalled his refusal to succumb to the illness and to make art during recovery as a coping mechanism.

"One day I took a decision laying in bed that I wasn't going to let this happen and the best way of dealing with all of this was by channelling it through my art.

"What you're seeing with the art are pictures of PTSD, produced in pictorial form based on myself," Mr Adams said.

The artist compared the artworks, which feature troubling and at times grotesque reworkings of his own face, to the post-modern phenomenon of selfies, which he dubs "the most damaging cultural force for decades."

In that sense, conveying his own struggles with severe illness and mental trauma through the work is just one aspect of the exhibition.

'Haunted Selfies' is also a biting satire on 21st century culture in the West.

Mr Adams described his inspirations further: "It's the biggest cultural phenomenon of the last ten years. Everybody posts selfies and makes ourselves look good and I realized I could examine that in the exhibition."

While he cites inspiration of great nineteenth century artists who battled their own demons through their work such as Goya, Van Gough and Munch, Mr Adam's own techniques are wholly of his own time.

The artworks themselves were created digitally, using algorithms written by Mr Adams that manipulate pixels in selfies he took of his own face.

The results are as stunning as they are shocking.

"Selfies encourage narcissism, and anger. We see people promoting themselves in ways that are actually unrealistic. It breaks down our sense of reality.

"It's a bit like if you watch too much porn, your sense of sex becomes warped, and similarly if you take too many selfies your view of the self becomes warped," Mr Adams said.

'Haunted Selfies' is on at the Robert Phillips Gallery, Riverhouse Barn, in Walton-on-Thames until May 19, and entry is free.

For more information about the artist and to see more of his work, go to: www.richardfadams.com