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Profile: Doug & Mike Starn
A.K.A "The Starn Twins"
Affiliated Movements: Photography, Conceptual Art. *

Affiliated Artists:
Bernd & Hilla Becher
Thomas Demand
August Sander
Cindy Sherman

* The placement of other artists in the same category is purely for didactic purposes - any number alternate criteria could result in a different choice. This list is chosen by suggesting other artists, mostly working at the same point in time and whose work might evoke similar questions in the viewer.

Portrait of Janine Antoni
doug & mike starn - the starn twins - double rembrandtDouble Rembrandt with Steps, 1987

Doug and Mike Starn, better known at the beginning of their career as 'The Starn Twins' were born in New Jersey in 1961 and took up residence in New York in the early 1980s working out of Red Hook,  an industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Having worked for over a decade in a single (but complex) idiom with silver gelatin papers and more toning and bleaching methods than you can shake a stick at, they decided to move on after the turn of the century with the series Attracted to Light - featured below (coming shortly). While borrowing much from the earlier work, it's scale and technology forced a hard look at materials and methods for the brothers - paving the way for later works using somewhat more democratic digital technologies and methods,  returning to investigations of transparency using shoji-like material with encaustic and again, large scale - resulting in works like 'Blot out the Sun' of 2004, bringing them (roughly speaking) to the place they are at now.

Formal Devices Used in the Early Work: 1985-1993

The hallmark of the Twins' early work is an exploration of the interruption of the pictorial plane created by the mosaic of composite sheets used to compose an entire image. Their tireless experiments with such rhythms created within the picture plane and harnessed within it's grid (Cartesian or otherwise) - are easily seen in many of their works of the period.

Much of the power of the work is derived also from the tension between the collaged elements (and it's attendant gestural activity) and the photographic representation. This is clearly visible in the work to the right,   Lisa (Blue) of 1986.

Blue Lisa 1986 - doug and mike starn (the starn twins)
doug & mike starn - the starn twins - double rembrandtThe Rookery, 1985
office building - doug and mike starn (the starn twins)Office Building, 1985 macabre still life - doug and mike starn (the starn twins)Macabre Still Life, 1983
doug & mike starn - the starn twins - double rembrandtRose, 1988







written and edited by JWD


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