The Aesthete & the Amateur part 3: Samara Barzane

Two works from Samara Barzane’s show at Twilight Gallery are discussed by critics Eleanor Medier and Heavy Writer in this ongoing series, The Aesthete and the Amateur. The in-world magazine presents additional photographs. 

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Eleanor: “Here are smashed cars for you. It has the feeling of an accident.”

Heavy: “You smash the cars, and I fix them! Do you call this pop art? It is better than Andy Warhol and his banana.”

Eleanor: “There is a pop influence, but also abstract expressionist like Pollock. These have movement and chaos, like starting out with good intentions but things get out of control.”

Heavy: “I like the color spectrum in the compositions. I’m starting to sound like you! You are a bad influence.”

Eleanor: “How can that be bad????”

Heavy frowns: “It is bad. I used to see art with the eyes of a child. Now I can see it with your eyes.”

Eleanor wonders if she should be insulted: “My eyes are not better than a child’s???”

Heavy: “It looks like graffiti, and I can’t read graffiti letters. I might buy the one with cars and hang it in my garage.”

Eleanor: “They are very visually busy, but it works. This organized chaos is expressive of furious activity.”

Heavy: “Activity I got, but why do you say it is organized?”

Eleanor: “There seems to be an intention, a purpose. It isn’t just random. For example, in the one with the cars, the yellow wheels seem like blueprints, like plans coming apart; you start out with organization. You know what you are doing. All is going well, and suddenly the machine breaks, the materials spill, the workers walk out, things go wrong. It is deconstructionist.”

Heavy: “You get lost among the noise of the city. I like this for some reason that slips me—maybe it is just because these are not too creepy, nor too happy. They balance.”

Eleanor: “‘Montage 4’ works on a more abstract level. Now the subject is less important than pattern and color. IThe pieces in this collection that are the least interesting are the most typical subjects. The strongest have intrigue, often beautiful deterioration—an aesthetic in what is traditionally ugly.”

Heavy: “There are a lot of visual clues. This one can be fire escape stairs.”

Eleanor: “Like the beauty in peeling paint. Here I see factory windows with those small panes of glass. It seems to have a skeleton structure. But the forms defy it—they rebel against it.”

Heavy: “It can be an urban building in construction or a facade under renovation. First you peel off all old layers of paint before refinishing.”

Eleanor: “The color is powerful. The others use more color than this one, which can dilute the effect. Often less is more. Yet the weakest are too obvious, with no mystery. Such as the jacket and the big peace sign—they are too whole, too apparent.”

Heavy: “I don’t know about that. I see a story here: you get dressed at home in front of your mirror with your best jacket and you think you look cool. Once out of your apartment, you get lost in crowded sidewalks where people walk like a herd of sheep. You lose your coolness. Nobody has the chance to notice your fantastic jacket. So you are cool only into your eyes in the privacy of your apartment.”

Eleanor: “One must be cool. I hope you never wear a jacket like that!!!”

Heavy: “As long you think you are cool, who cares about other SL opinions?”

Eleanor: “Exactly. Cool is in the eyes of the cool. As a body of work, these images hold together. You can tell they are all done by one artist with a consistency of approach, though a great variety of subjects. Consistency is a mark of seriousness and focus, so missing in 90% of the artists in SL. However, I think these could be edited a bit. I like this one called ‘Art School,’ which has more vibrancy.”

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Heavy: “Maybe she is into Albers too? She is good with color.”

Eleanor: “No, her color sense is more like Mondrian: primary small bits. These do have an expansive sense of space, depth, 3D perspective.”

Heavy: “I like art that transcends SL. I need some real in a virtual world—ideas that don’t apply only to the SL environment.”

Eleanor: “I like art that incorporates something uniquely SL.”

Heavy: “That’s why I’m not impressed with vampires and skeletons and all kind of creepy stuff.“

Eleanor: “That does get old.”

Heavy: “Those don’t exist in real life.”

[Part 4—the story continues with the reviews, starting with Molly Bloom at several galleries.]

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© 2014 by Eleanor Medier, Sim Street Journal. Articles cannot be reprinted without permission.