WOA: The Vast Middle
Hey, remember that show Work of Art? Turns out, we still have a ton of pieces to talk about. You know, the ones the judges didn’t want to talk about. Hit it, artsy types:
A technically very strong piece but one without a lot of aesthetic value, as far as we’re concerned. He essentially replicated needlepoint effects with paint (making for a distinctly paint-by-numbers piece) and inserted his face into it.
Again, a technically well done piece but it seems to miss the mark on interpreting the original, which, thanks to commenter Gotham Tomato, we now know is based on the work of Jewish folk artist Jovan Obican. Jazz-Minh didn’t need to know the history or references behind the piece, but it seems to us she completely eradicated any folk art sensibilities from it and just did her own thing.
We thought this was quite clever and one of the pieces that most closely adhered to the original concept of the challenge as it was stated at the beginning of the show: to rethink and re-use the original piece of kitsch and turn it into something with more value. We can’t say we completely understand what she was going for here, but we loved the interesting shapes the shadows took on the wall.
We didn’t really get this one at all. Just looked like a science fair project from the dirty, weird kid in the class.
We’re starting to sound like a broken record here but we didn’t really get this one either. We’re beginning to suspect that these pieces were all waved through because the judges didn’t want to keep having to say the same thing. We thought she was going in an interesting direction, but in the end it was just a bunch of modeling clay slapped on top of the existing piece.
We give him a lot of credit for going the performance art route and we think, based on his self-portrait with his dying parents, which was shockingly personal and haunting, that he’s not just being a poser to get attention. This served as a cheeky commentary on the idea of producing art within the confines of reality television using reality TV stock phrases. Not the strongest piece in the room but one of the strongest among the middle.
We would have liked this a lot more if we didn’t already know that this is what she does all the time. Sure, you can roll your eyes at the idea of “visceral tableaux,” but she took something bland and made it something extreme, which seems to be what she’s all about.
This comes dangerously close to “craft” and away from “art,” but we have to admit, it’s astonishingly beautiful. We’re very interested to see if and how his deafness will inform his art in any way. He’s definitely established himself as a thoughtful artist with a beautiful aesthetic.