Where Lights Meet
Two Person Exhibition
Ian Tan Gallery, 2021
That Mike and Emilie Fantuz are a husband and wife artist duo who both work with oil paint and palette knives is only the mildest overlap between their art. While both artists often paint city scenes, their perspectives differ. Mike’s work takes an expansive and ambitious aerial view, with bridges and roads reaching across an entire city. Emilie’s work draws near for a close-up, often of that same city, with comforting corner stores and city sidewalks standing in their unassuming beauty.
Though the view may differ, similar themes permeate their artwork. The street corner and skyscraper both celebrate the interconnectedness of life and the interdependence of human relationships. Highways and city lights both hint at the transience of life, whether time is marked by moving cars or nightfall. Even the subjects themselves—Mike’s portraits of civilization and Emilie’s odes to the corner store—are different scenes depicted through the same appreciation for connection and optimism for cooperation and humanity.
The differences between the work enhance the understanding of their art just as powerfully as the overlaps. The expansive perspective in Mike’s work emphasizes the subtle view in Emilie’s and the reverse is equally illuminating; their art seen side-by-side becomes an experiment in the power of perspective.
Yet, it’s the most subtle difference that exposes the defining element in Emilie and Mike’s artwork. The sky in Mike’s work never transitions past twilight, while the sky in Emilie’s work is rarely seen before dusk. Like a secret message that only appears when two parts collide, the beauty of balance—night and day, sidewalks and highways, single stores and entire cities—comes into view when the art of Mike and Emilie Fantuz stands side-by-side, where lights meet.