The Mental Museum

The Starns

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     Mike and Doug Starn live in New York. They are identical twin brothers who collectively produce photographic masterpieces.  They have a long standing fascination with various dichotomous aspects of life today; light and dark, past and present, nature and technology, part and whole and distinctive dualisms that have been evident even in their early works. Together, they attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and since then have have been associated together and highly respected in the art world.  Known for their alternative photographic processing, the Starns utilize a wide range of printing methods. Below, taken from the series titled Black Pulse, is a Lamba Digital, or Lambda Metallic C-Print. This printing method is a new technology that allows for images to be inkjet printed on metallic based papers, producing a wide tonal range an beautifully saturated colors.bpl_13.jpg Impressive, right?!They are also highly revered for their unique installations. As they are under the influence of their dualing themes, it is no surprise that their display methods defy reality and call into question elements of proportion and ultimately, importance.  In the image below, the Starns used traditional silver gelatin printing methods on very fine and translucent Mulberry paper from Thailand. Most likely, they coated each sheet with a liquid emulsion, essentially creating their own textured photo paper, exposed them under an enlarger or from transparency contact sheet and processed each carefully through traditional darkroom chemicals. The weak sheets that make up the composition are probably attributed to the harsh chemicals in which they were soaked. From the series Attracted to Light …atl_01.jpg  From another series titled Structure of Thought, the Starns create a more painterly equation of techniques. Using ink jet archival prints as their base, they incorporate an ancient method called encaustic painting, or hot wax painting. As early at the 6th century, beeswax was often used mixed with colored pigment which was then applied to surfaces such board or canvas as the painting medium. There are many variations on this recipe, however, beeswax is the most traditional. In the work below, it looks as though our Starn twins have used this encaustic method without pigment and instead,  to encase their collage with this unique aesthetic. Varnish has also been added to likely smooth surface of this wax material.sot_07.jpg  As the Starns strive to comprehend and express in their work these notions and queries about dueling entities such as past present, young old, nature technology etc… The mediums in which they work even seem to encompass and well represent these states of mind. Where we have the latest technology in printing methods shown at top, and then mixed methods of tradition and innovation with their Attracted to Light series, and then lastly listed, they are using painting methods from centuries ago to enhance their cutting edge photographic methods. Its brilliant. Each work offers some aspect of duality. Each portrays characteristics that could only be inspired and created by a dueling team in it of itself The Starn Twins.


Written by thementalmuseum

March 19, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Posted in Art

One Response

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  1. where can i get some infor mation on the picture attracted to light i need info like pictorial meaning and iconography composition techneque tone and print quality


    March 1, 2011 at 12:00 am

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