The Fabien Castanier Gallery in Culver City, California, is exhibiting work by the Italian-born Miaz Brothers, who take a refreshing new approach to portraiture. Having painted portraits of friends, philosophers, and the departed (in a series called Ghosts), the brothers have turned their efforts toward this collection of work called Old Masters, part of an ongoing series they call Antimatter. Viewing their large-scale portraits of seventeenth-century Renaissance painters is like seeing history through hazy glass.
Working as collaborators is unusual, though not new, in the art world. Ed and Nancy Kienholz did it in the ’60s and ’70s, as well as Claus Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Christo and Jeanne-Claude. But sibling-collaborators seem to hold a more unique place—with photographers Mike and Doug Starn being one of the few siblings I know of who work together today. Do they talk a lot? Do they intuitively work together with limited conversation? “What do you think? No? Just a bit more, there! That’s good, stop!” As collaborators, there has to be a certain amount of democracy and trust to be successful. What stays and what goes is key to finding the final piece.
All artists I know have squinted their eyes when working, in fact it’s a common and almost natural way of seeing. Artists do this to erase the cumbersome detail and get to the essence of what it is they are trying to see. What the brothers do with these portraits is squint for us, leaving viewers with wide open eyes to (as the Miaz Brothers state) “re-establish the limits of [our] own perception, [and] regain control of the real.”
Installation photograph at Fabien Castanier Gallery, 2014
Miaz Brothers and The Masters runs until October 11 at Fabien Castanier Gallery, in Culver City, CA.
All images © Miaz Brothers, courtesy Fabien Castanier Gallery