Louviere + Vanessa: Not really! But, we’ve been described as “surreal” in that we interpret the contradictions between dream and reality. Some series (“Slumberland,” “Creature,” “Chloroform,” “Overawe and Oblivion Atlas”) are knee deep with flawed characters amidst decaying and grotesque places and situations and as such are very Southern Gothic with a realistic approach to a fantastic scene like the literary Magic Realists. Our newest work has shades of Romanticism and it’s rebellion against scientific rationalization of nature but with a strong belief in nature, imagination and the primitive. So, with a completely straight face: Our style of work is… Conceptual-Romantic-Surrealism with a healthy dose of Magic Realism! Concepromarealism, et voila!
BM: Most of your work has a variety of mixed media. What role does the photograph play in the ideation and creative process?
L+V: Photography is the primary medium for us and the door to every experiment we’ve tried. It’s the realism to our surrealism. It is an intercession, a way of advancing contact and content. The photograph is part of the idea, the techniques re-enforce, associate and sometimes undermine that idea. Our works are an organic whole, a final object that is more than the sum of its parts. But, we always try for the best photograph. If it doesn’t work printed out at 8×10 on cheap paper in black and white, then it won’t work with anything added to it.
BM: You have managed to produce an astonishing amount of work since I was first introduced to it almost ten years ago. What are some of the motivations that keep you working the studio year after year?
L+V: Two German Shepherds eating six pounds of food a day! Seriously…
OK, actually, we motivate each other. We’re inspired by our friends, our favorite bands, new scientific discoveries, old scientific rediscoveries. Sometimes we aren’t motivated at all and inspiration has to come from working… all the time. Experimenting, wondering, doing something art related every day and not worrying about whether anyone will “like it” leads to delights and tangents that act as bait for the larger ideas.
B: What are some of the recurrent themes that you show up in your work?
L+V: Our fascination for art-making lies in the themes of duality—creation as destruction, personal as universal, and now, sound as sight—as guiding forces to collaborate. We’re honing the idea of disintegration (forming tightly defined images) and Integration (combining those concepts into a unified whole). These two modes are really just alternating rhythms of the same activity of both art-making and thinking: familiar images from strange territories and vice versa.