The Aesthete & The Amateur review the art of Talullah Winterwolf

“Emotional Enigma” reviews the work of Talullah Winterwolf at Galleries East West in Second Life®.

Each time that Eleanor Medier and Heavy Writer visit The Galleries East West, they marvel at the work of Talullah Winterwolf. But the intensity of these highly emotional collages makes the critical pair move on to simpler works for discussion. Yet, always in the backs of their minds, they longed to take the time for examining these enigmatic works more closely. When planning her treatise on Symbolism, Eleanor had to include Talullah’s work, and took advantage of her unsuspecting partners schedule for a concentrated visit. (Continued from “Symbolic Extremes,” introduction to this critique.)

The Aesthete and the Amateur

Eleanor: “These are not the typical SL collages. They use real life images and are very compelling, thought provoking—emotionally excavating.”

Heavy: “Do you call this Surrealism?”

Eleanor: “No, Symbolism. I consider surrealism to be dreamlike— making fantasy juxtapositions. These seem very realistic to me. Salvador Dali was the quintessential surrealist. He made fantasy landscapes— another one is Paul Klee. He was a symbolist too, though. There is a fine line.”

Heavy grins: “Ok, ‘Symbolism’— but I can decipher anything. Still, these have a strong visual impact on me, but there are so many details, I don’t know where to start.”

Eleanor: “There are sub-themes throughout and stylistically they are very well defined. Contrasted with Moondrift Tomorrow, who is very intellectual— taking a step back from his subject, Talullah is very personal and emotional. She dives into her subject matter. Yet, these seem to also symbolize the experiences many people.”

Heavy: “I figure these are all ghosts of a violent past. These would look good in a Stephen King novel!”

Eleanor: “Yikes—I don’t like Stephen King, but I like these. Perhaps with a nightmare quality, they each have layers of meaning. They are beautiful versus pretty. Is it not catharsis a way to handle tragedy?”

“A Trip to the Exhibition” by Talullah Winterwolf

Heavy: “Catharsis—yes that will define this. I find this one of twins particularly intriguing.”

Eleanor: “The artist uses twins as a theme often. Here she includes a real story contrasting with her fiction—the Diane Arbus photo.”

Heavy: “Yes, but I don’t know the real story. Shall I Google for it?”

Eleanor: “Diane Arbus was a photographer, and she captured human emotion, all in black and white— I think in the 70’s mostly, and she committed suicide. I think that is a book cover of her work. ”

Heavy: “For some reason, black and white photography can have more impact than color photos.”

Eleanor: “Arbus was powerfully creative — she is to human expression what Ansel Adams is to landscape.”

Heavy: “One Arbus twin looks pretty content, while the other one looks about to cry. The twins Talullah has, based on that photo, are emotion-free—but with evil eyes. One holds a grenade. I’m sure it is for their own defense!”

Eleanor: “They look innocent tho, like they are wearing their Sunday best to go on an outing in the city, and they will take the train. They are out for adventure, and mischievous.”

Heavy: “Innocent? I wouldn’t say so. They look determined to do something, and I’m sure it is not something good. Look at their eyes!”

Eleanor: “Little devils disguised as little girls! People expect little girls to be sweet and nice. They don’t want to believe they can be scheming and devious. Would you call these portraits? Are they of real people or are they archetypical?”

Heavy: “I’m surprised you picked catharsis art to review. These things give you goose bumps, from what I know.”

Eleanor: “I do not believe in art as therapy, and most of the art created that way is poor. But when deep emotions are stirred via a greater and more communicative statement, then yes, I think it makes experience and sharing deeper.”

Heavy: “We should not try to define art— art is always surprising. We should feel art.

“Trail of Crumbs”by Talullah Winterwolf

Eleanor: “This one with the suitcase is pretty obvious—called ‘A Trail of Crumbs.’ The lady is fleeing from a hotel.”

Heavy: “A hotel that looks like the Adams Family home— I would run from there too!”

Eleanor: “These collages wrestle between the specific and the universal— her works make us relate to the feeling of what the people are going through. Many of her works have predators or victims. This one is a victim. She is disillusioned. Haven’t we all felt that at some point?”

Heavy: “She holds a dandelion in her hand that poofed—all her dreams are poofed—there is no future for her. She has been through a trauma that will follow her with bad memories for the rest of her life. Probably next we will hear from her in an insane asylum.”

Eleanor: “Maybe she will recover. Some of these works seem to express an inner strength of the survivor.”

Heavy: “She might recover if she finds a handsome man to love her, but the way she looks, and her taste in fashion makes me doubt that.”

Eleanor: “I don’t see them all as hopeless victims, but they all have danger. This realism is socially critical. Well— the fashion— she is formally dressed, so she flees from some special event at that hotel. Now, this piece strikes me as a predator—this nasty lady in the politically-incorrect fur stole. Then we have this unhappy red cameo with a man saying ‘We Had a Bargain.’”

“The Incalcitrant Madame Hyde” by Talullah Winterwolf

Heavy: “She had eaten him alive. He committed suicide and she probably incinerated him while he wanted to be buried.”

Eleanor: “This is like a cautionary tale: be careful who you trust.”

Heavy: “The woman has an insignia on her hat saying ‘I’m NOT a PEOPLE PERSON’—that we can see for sure! No need of that insignia!”

Eleanor: “She is the kind of person you love to hate. I didn’t need to read that button to get her character. She is even a caricature. These figures represent kinds of people and situations.”

Heavy: “She is probably the type of wife who will poison your food, or will sink your fishing boat with you inside. Hahaha.”

Eleanor: “Oh, she is nasty business, for sure. She will sabotage you and steal everything you have—and feel you deserved it!”

Talullah Winterwolf "The Reading of the Will"

Heavy: “It looks like just women are evil in these works. These twins are obviously little witches—all those potions behind them and that book.”

Eleanor: “But they wish to portray themselves differently: one in white, one in black. The one in black holds a dead bird on a cross, so that one is bad. The white one tries to be good, but has restraints. But look at her expression: she can’t be a good girl and look at us like that!”

Heavy: “They can be both I guess; I just look at their eyes. Both have a bad look. Eyes are the mirror of your soul! ”

Eleanor: “These are not happy cheerful eyes, not kind eyes or affectionate eyes. They can act one way, but actually be another. The one in black does not hide her intensions, while the one in white tries to.”

“Only Some Wild Thing” by Talullah Winterwolf

Heavy [moves to the next image]: “This lady is so threatening that even a wolf got scared looking at her shadow!”

Eleanor: “She has horns— but her eyes are semi hidden. She demonstrates her inner character by the flowers and the wolf— a dichotomy. She has a duo nature: she has a beauty, seductiveness, and danger. She is a predator and uses her charm to pull you in, gives you flowers and kisses.”

Heavy: “While wearing an seductive angel mask. Peach skin but evil inside. She is the femme fatale who can put you in bankruptcy.”

Eleanor: “Like a spider waiting to get you in her web. What about that heart rhythm symbol under the wolf? Maybe he is afraid of that graph— he is facing that way, not looking at her.”

“Dirty Like the Opera of Crime” by Talullah Winterwolf

Overall, these works are not very optimistic, though they do imply consequences.”

Heavy: “They are like thriller movies.”

 Eleanor: “Ohhhh, the characters are creeepy. Look at this one—this is one of my favorites.”

Heavy: “This is a widow. She always chased men for their wealth and she buried a few because they were much older than her. But now she is old herself. Time and bad marriages left marks on her. Still she has couple things to sell—the belongings of her dead husbands.”

Eleanor: “Is she the predator this time, or the victim?

Heavy: “She is sinful— she has two apples—one in each hand. Eating apples is the primordial sin.”

Eleanor: “She looks less wicked than the other characters we have seen; her eyes are not so menacing—or I should say—eye. The other one is covered by— what might that be? Red like blood?”

Heavy: “She is a widow now, as she always wanted to be— widow and rich— but is a victim of her practices too, because she is now too old to enjoy.”

Eleanor: “Might that mean is that she walks away with everything? She doesn’t look too unhappy. Though she is dressed in black, she dresses it up with that big white ruffle. That bright orange in the background is very powerful. She is very black and white and the color here comes from objects around her.”

Heavy: “Could be a sinner who were abused by her husbands. She provoked their brutality with her behavior?”

Eleanor: “Perhaps the red over one eye defines her as a victim. She comes out as the survivor. Maybe she murdered the husbands. Is that her sin? She murdered them to get the wealth. She holds the sinful apples as that symbol, along with the purse to represent her greed.”

Heavy: “Let’s make a good woman out of this. With all these bad women in these works, I don’t want people to think I’m a misoginistic ass. Her husband abused her all her entire life. She had no choice but to defend herself.”

Eleanor: “She does not have scheming eyes, but she is greedy. Perhaps Talulla is saying no one is all good or all bad in this figure. We want to like her. She does not seem dangerous to us like the others. Just don’t marry her!”

Heavy: “No, I don’t want her to be good. I just had pity on women for a moment because all are portrayed so bad in these collages.”

“The Little Secret room that Only Mimi Knew” by Talullah Winterwolf

Eleanor: “Talullah has a strong stylistic cohesion. There is one work that I find the most enigmatic. It is not a portrait like these we have discussed.”

Heavy: “This is not necessarily a girl, but could be a little boy wearing girl clothes, which is even creepier.”

Eleanor: “But with the pink, we feel the femininity. The blue can be for a boy. These works are all quite narrative—we wish to create a story from each. We don’t just look and feel, like we do with an abstract piece. It is as if there is a riddle to figure out, but the riddle has no single answer.”

Heavy: “Is that a book or a family photo album?”

Eleanor: “The book looks like just words, but there is a photo falling out of it. There is what might be a newspaper scrap on the floor. And with the upside down legs— is that a TV? a window? I am not sure.”

Heavy: “I think ii is a mirror showing the other side of room—it has a reflection and a fade. Those look like prosthetic legs sticking up.”

Eleanor: “Ohhh a mirror seems right. The wall behind is not in good shape. And the figure is tearing up a book. Everything is torn and tattered—there is anger in tearing up that book.”

Heavy: “Again, not a setup for something good to happen.”

Eleanor: “I interpret the upside down legs as a victim of some kind. That is not a natural posture after all!”

Heavy: “Either the child will be abused for tearing up the book, or the child will carry this on to even more violent actions. Like stabbing his parents while they are asleep!”

Eleanor: “Maybe this child abused the child in the mirror—there is no innocence here. This artist must know a lot of dangerous people!!!! Or she is overly sympathetic to victims.”

Heavy: “I doubt— might just be a fan of horror movies, which I’m not.”

Eleanor: “Oh I can’t watch horror movies— actually I have never really seen one, and I won’t. But I do really like these collages—they are beautiful, and I doubt that a horror movie is.”

Also, enjoy the other reviews in the series that follows this unlikely pair in their aesthetic adventures.

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INDEX for all contributors and articles
Sim Street Journal #1: Virtual Reveals Real
Sim Street Journal #2: The Old in the New
Sim Street Journal #3: Magicians of Meaning
Sim Street Journal #4: Telling Stories
Sim Street Journal #5: Champions of Expression
Sim Street Journal #6: Overlapping Realities
Sim Street Journal #7: Luck Created
Sim Street Journal #8: Facing the Inevitable
Sim Street Journal #9: Motivated Learning
Sim Street Journal #10: Serious Fun
Sim Street Journal #11: Fantasy Fulfillment
Sim Street Journal #12: Insights from Extremes
Sim Street Journal #13: Bridging Boundaries
Sim Street Journal #14Realities Blend
Sim Street Journal #15: Creative Collaborations
Sim Street Journal #16: Visual Music

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