Rob Davis and Mike Langlois are collaborators who make paintings together, redefining the conventional notion that paintings are made by a single artist and embody a singular essence or “hand.” They met while at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and have worked together since 1997, each taking an equal role in developing ideas, choosing subjects, and executing the works. This unusual approach is accompanied by an out-of-the-mainstream approach to contemporary painting—photorealism.
As they say, “For us, representational painting always includes a deferred relationship to the painting’s event. In this sense, we see our paintings as historical and symmetrical to our own relationship to the past—defined by an ever-renewing dynamic between memory, its representation, and the synchronicity brought about in the object itself. Our vocabulary is derived from popular and sub cultures and while we use the oldest trick in the book (mimesis), we are committed to making classical techniques viable options in contemporary art.” Davis and Langlois conceive of bodies of work as complete installations pivoting around central themes that range from desire, family, and identity to martyrdom, utopia, and politics. The seemingly dissimilar images they juxtapose are united through these themes.