The Starn Twins

The Starn Twins, Michael and Douglas, make images that are balanced on the edge of beauty.Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 11.48.04

Here is a commonplace rose, in itself like any one of the thousands that a Google search throws up, but then the familiar is made strange by using antique printing processes (like those used by the Pictorialists a hundred years before them). The image is segmented with torn edged and overlaying sections. Instead of photography’s illusion of three dimensional objects, we are made aware of the flat paper that holds the image.

Like montage artists, they bring us back to the photograph as an object. Unlike most montage artists, they don’t jolt us with a disjointed and pointed humour. Their image is instead melancholic with its sombre tones, holding a sense of the fragility of both the rose and the photographic print. There is the montage artist’s need to destroy images and old ideas in order to make something new. In this image, perhaps a sense of something torn apart in anger, then pieced together again out of regret for the loss and a nostalgic wish to remake it again.

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