Hazed and Confused: The Disorienting Portraiture of the Miaz Brothers
Paintings by the Italian Miaz Brothers are subtle, eerie, and born out of a collaborative effort completely shared between the two real-life siblings. For the last few years, several installments their “Antimatter” series have presented viewers with works that radically challenge the dominant modes of representational portraiture. Now, with their latest batch of “Antimatter” paintings, subtitled “A Boundless Vision,” the brothers present a new set of hazy, perplexing portraits—this time emphasizing more clearly their interest in the mechanics of perception.
To create the paintings, the brothers carefully airbrush large-scale canvases with what, only upon close inspection, appear to be faces filtered through several layers of gauze. Barely recognizable yet still undeniably human, the images inspire an instant emotional affinity—they are object lessons in anthropomorphization. On the subject of their unique tactics the artists have said, “We use [aerosol paints] to represent the fact that we are composed of infinite particles in continuous evolution, which change in tandem with the complex reality that surrounds us.”
In the past, the Miaz Brothers have painted deceased friends, philosophers, and key figures from the English Restoration period. Their latest “Antimatter” canvases portray female subjects from multiple angles: women of indecipherable features touched by the brothers’ signature dreamlike techniques. The paintings, awash with dark greens and sepia tones, reflect a closer interrogation of the duo’s bent toward the intuitive power of the eye, while retaining the constraints that make each of their series feel whole. (In an earlier series, they restricted themselves to a palette of cyan, magenta, and yellow.) The brothers have finely tuned their subjects to a world in which images do not equal truth. “We are interested in the ‘perception’ and not the ‘representation,’” the artists have said, “a direct relationship with the senses and the capacity of the self when faced with the elaborate influx of information that nowadays is becoming more and more important.”