The Aesthete & the Amateur part 4: Molly Bloom

Works from several of Molly Bloom’s exhibitions are reviewed by critics Eleanor Medier and Heavy Writer in the ongoing series, The Aesthete and the AmateurThe in-world magazine presents different selections and additional photographs. The works reviewed here are in this on-line version only.

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Eleanor: “This is Molly Bloom’s own gallery. She has quite a range of images from reinterpretations of classical mythology and contemporary intrigues.”

Heavy: “She is definitely good compared with other artists who just take snapshots. Her staging is very detailed and shows how many possibilities SL can offer. It is a good use of this platform. I have no doubt this is quite involved to create the scenes. For me, it is hard work to just change my clothes! I would never have the patience to do something so detailed. You are sure these are original? I wonder if is not just Photoshop tricks applied to real life paintings. It is easy to add an avie face to a painted character. That old lady face in one image makes me wonder if this has been altered and uploaded. I don`t know what to believe.”

Eleanor: “It is hard to tell because I don’t find the images very sharp.”

Heavy: “But if she did all this in-world she has my respect even, if I’m not so much into the subjects she chooses. These are not just simple snapshots. The body shapes are so detailed. I don`t think there are shapes like this in SL, unless she creates her own shapes. Otherwise there is definitely a large amount of visual tricks here.”

Eleanor: “The notecard says that she creates the shapes of the avatars and also scripts the poses. So they are original images in the end for her. Could be that she added the wrinkles in Photoshop but had an avatar for the picture.”

Heavy: “Maybe, but is not just in the face. It is the clothing and the details—that`s a master brush there in my opinion. Dutch master probably. Anyway, these are much more interesting than the simple snapshooting you see all over the place.”

Eleanor: “And those are all over the place too; I get really tired of photo collages. They all look like they could be done by the same person. Molly has a unique look. You can pick out her style.”

Heavy: “This one I thought will be called ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ I was wrong–It is called ‘Dinner Time.’ That`s better because I was about to say that tattooed lady is not a beauty, no matter what. Actually she looks like the Beast!”

Eleanor: “Maybe the Beast is the Beauty?”

Heavy: “The demon might just look tough, but he is the softy one inside. I would call this the ‘Appearance.'”

Eleanor: “The strongest of Molly’s images seem to tell the most in the way of story. In this case, she takes being literal to an extreme. If you are going to be literal, be very literal! The mystery is in figuring out the allegory.”

Heavy: “All you need is to check the titles, and all is revealed. Her work has the appearance of mysticism and mystery, but there is not much mystery. That’s her weakness, I think.”

Eleanor: “The is mystery is in figuring it out.”

Heavy: “There is too much nudity in her art—like doing a nude adds to art value.”

Eleanor: “I thought you like nudity. There is a lot of nudity in classical art. How about this one? ‘Heartbreak.’ It is not mythological, but contemporary.”

Heavy: “I’m ok with the nudity in art. I just think she goes there too much. If you use same recipe over and over again, you get to be boring. I mean, I like pizza but I wouldn’t eat pizza every day.”

Eleanor: “There is always that fine line—to create a recognizable style, but one flexible enough to always be interesting. This is huge for the artist to achieve. Look at Salvadore Dali—you can always tell one of his paintings, yet his visual language was very expansive.”

Heavy: “DalI is easy to recognize and definitely not boring.”

Eleanor: “Even Albers is not boring—and all he painted for years was squares!”

Heavy: “Albers is not boring for you. To me Albers is interesting only if you own his entire collection, which is impossible. Same for Rothko. I think their pieces are linked together like a puzzle.”

Eleanor: “We have four Albers—or now three—and they did look great together.”

Heavy: “Well, I think the one I did is the best of all [the fake he put in place of the one he sold].”

Eleanor: “That is only because you did it.”

Heavy: “I used an original approach called the ‘Gravitation Technique.’ The dripping makes the piece less boring.”

Eleanor: “You incorporated a little Pollock inspiration.”

Heavy: “Like they use to say dear: ‘a book is written from other books.'”

Eleanor: “Oh? Nothing new under the sun?”

Heavy: “I have integrated a garage-essence in a masterpiece. Nobody has done that!”

Eleanor: “Oh yes, you very much accomplished something original with that one!”

Heavy: “Better keep that painting because will be worth millions after my death.”

Eleanor: “It will make you famous dear.”

Heavy: “Well, I had a good teacher. Nobody can copy me because the oil will never drip the same, while a square will be always easy to copy. I could have taught a couple of things your master Albers.”

Eleanor: “I am sure he would have appreciated it too.”

Heavy: “I know you would like to strangle me for selling your painting, but you need to suck it up like I did too. Molly says in her profile: ‘I am a surrealist and erotic artist. I’m sorry I do not take profile pics nor commissions.’ She has a point I guess.”

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Eleanor: “This is the most elaborate installation I have seen from Molly.”

Heavy: “There is so much erotism in SL art. I wonder why is that?”

Eleanor: “Because there is in SL, generally.”

Heavy: “I can’t blame her for nudity anymore, since she claims to be an erotic artist.”

Eleanor: “True—that kind of goes together.”

Heavy: “Here dear—she is showing the SL original setup for her shoots. See the painting is taken from this 3d setup—with the cutout figures. She must shoot the avatars first then. That must be why some of the figures look cut out. She has my respect for doing something very elaborate, but her ideas of what’s art are too common in SL. Naked ladies and demons you can see all over the grid. She is just a little bit smarter than others. She stages mythological scenes in the hope that an old legend will add to the value of her art.”

Eleanor: “I think she wishes to interpret the old in new ways. That is valid dear.”

Heavy: “It is like a white guy singing Blues and trying to imitate the voice of a black singer—that simply doesn’t work. Artists need to be original. Is re-staging old myths original?”

Eleanor: “That is one reason I like the piece ‘Heartbreak,’ the contemporary image. She tells the whole story in one image. That one is not an old myth, though there is nothing new about men walking out on women.”

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Heavy: “I like ‘Dinner Time’ too. There is still some mythology, but it happens in a modern kitchen.”

Eleanor: “Juxtaposition makes those images strong. I think this installation is also powerful from her; it feels unexpected. This piece is called ‘The Flood. A lot of these images are framed with pillars on the sides, like we are looking into something. They have energy and emotion—of panic, of helplessness. Everything swirling below the figure. She uses foreshortening which is dramatic.”

Heavy: “This installation gives the entire setup unity. Notice how the pillars are a work of art themselves—to make her snapshots look more arty. If you add more and more elements that people consider art in general, they will consider your work art too. I think this is her recipe. She uses a couple of pillars to frame the image, and in the back there is an open book and couple stylish chairs—all those ingredients create the illusion of art.”

Eleanor: “Illusion of art? Is not the illusion of art actually art?? She does create a lot of illusions. She is talented and skillful.”

Heavy: “Illusion of art is actually art? I’m surprised someone who admires Albers can say that!”

Eleanor: “Yes—I think if it walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it is a duck.”

Heavy: “Why spend time in art school then?”

Eleanor: “To learn to see, dear. To learn to draw. Like playing an instrument, you have to train the eye/hand coordination. If it is an illusion that it is art, if it looks like art, it is art!”

Heavy: “Question is: what kind of duck dear? Is it a real duck or a rubber duck?”

Eleanor: “There are a lot of kinds of ducks dear. A rubber duck is still a duck.”

Heavy: “No it isn’t because it can’t nest and can’t lay eggs. It is just the illusion of a duck. Same as how these images are the illusion of art.”

Eleanor: “So it is an impostor duck?? So there is art that is impostor art?? Then we need a definition of what is genuine art and what is impostor art.”

Heavy: “There is first class art, second hand art, and crap art.”

Eleanor: “Just like movies–A movies, B movies, etc.?”

Heavy: “Well, if you compare the Blues made today with the Blues they were playing in the delta, the new one is fake Blues. Copying the original is not original.”

Eleanor: “I don’t know anyone doing this genre as well as her. She combines old references in new ways. That it totally valid. Any achievement stands on the shoulders of other achievements that have come before. Molly is good at what she does. If she were to do with real life models what she does with avatars, she could do some amazing things when she most uses her imagination.”

Heavy: “The closer she is to just normal mythology, it is not as interesting. The best of her pieces use the most imagination.”

Eleanor: “Like that image of the old couple– it was strong because it was different than her other work. There are many artists who have strong technique but lack imagination. Originality is the hard part in art. This is like Renaissance revivalism—traditional in style, but with new symbolism.”

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