Aesthete & Amateur 6, part 2: Ally Aeon
The Aesthete & the Amateur, Issue #6, Part 2:
Cave of Perceptions: The art of Ally Aeon
Heavy Writer (The Amateur) and Eleanor Medier (The Aesthete) critique artists’ presentations.* Having received a lot of notices from Ally Aeon, who shows aggressively, this name has stirred curiosity. With Heavy on her heels, Eleanor checked Ally’s Picks in-world for current shows, and discovered an installation listed. When the pair arrived at the show, they found a small gallery, trees, and some very mysterious spheres slowly moving in the landscape.
* [Please see complementary article in-world that has different selections reviewed.]
Eleanor: “Ally has a mix of works— I hope to see some of her installations. Oh look! She was featured in BOSL magazine—this is a pictorial of the show that was once here. Let’s not read this article though; I crave the not-knowing. Once you know what an artist intends or how the piece was created, you can never see the work for just what it is.”
Heavy: “I hate when you say we will review ‘installations.’ They are harder to review. You need to travel an entire sim to figure them out. A painting you watch for two minutes, and you are done.”
Eleanor: “You do need more patience. There is a fundamental difference between 2D and 3D art, as there is between a chihuahua and a great dane—both are dogs, but they look and act very differently. Many works of art fall between the two extremes. Yet, we use the same criteria judging both— composition, color, clarity, originality. Generally, 3D art takes more advantage of virtual reality’s interactivity, allowing the medium to influence.”
Eleanor: “There are a bunch of spheres here. This one is getting bigger and bigger. It’s scary, even though it has bright colors. It is getting huge. I wonder what it will do.”
Heavy reads: “’INSECT GLIMPSE—textures drawn on iPad and created in SL,’ it says here in this sign.’”
Eleanor: “Oh the sphere is sinking. These big balls are hypnotic, and they engulf us—like we are not even here. They come up from the ground, get huge, and then sink back, in a constant slow motion.”
Heavy: “They are scary because of both size and clashing colors.”
Eleanor: “Very primary. So what is here besides these big colorful spheres? In the gallery is ‘Exhibition Crystalline’—a very winter theme to fit this landscape. The spheres are like a backdrop of drama.”
Heavy: “This is a teleport to Ally’s studio. Looks like we are invited to see works in progress. Let’s figure out which are more completed. I don’t wish to judge too harshly, though I will anyway.” He arrived before Eleanor and looked around: “There is a great variety here—a lot to sift through. Ally has a butterfly fixation,” he announced in IM.
Eleanor watched Heavy disappear and then followed him to Ally’s cave-like studio. She considered the works in her path as she looked for him: “There is a casual, fun quality to her work—a playfulness. She attempts to have fresh eyes in that concept of the ‘Insect View.’ I assume she means extreme closeups? To the point of abstraction? If I didn’t know that theme, what I find are decorative patterns—such as the ones we just saw in the exhibit: titled ‘Ice’ and ‘Gaze.’”
Eleanor: “She can err on the side of too-complex.”
Heavy: “Yes ‘too-complex,’ if you say so. I say crowded. She is the opposite of Albers, but she has something from Albers too.”
Eleanor: “What is that?”
Heavy: “If you look close there are not more than two or three colors on her textures— look at these trees.”
Eleanor beams: “So when it comes to form, Ally’s work can be too complex, but when it comes to color, too simple? And, I think you are finally beginning to appreciate Albers!”
Heavy: “Ally is working on pages for a publication. For a psychedelic vinyl record album cover, these would be good.”
Eleanor: “They are similar to carnival paintings we did as kids with spinning tables. Putting the colored paint on an empty canvas, spin around really fast, and it randomly makes a composition. Many are very cool. You just pick the best ones, and throw the others away. She calls these ‘color explosions.’ They are like happy accidents.”
Heavy: “These are not just splashing around, but are computer-generated shapes.”
Eleanor: “So they are just computer-generated of the same thing, is all.”
Heavy: “Sometimes gravity does amazing things with splashing.”
Eleanor: “Gravity can do amazing things, but what is just accidental versus with intent? What is interpreted? It is like being enamored with Photoshop filter techniques. I imagine on the bug-view scale, insects might see fractals, crystals, or cellular shapes we can’t see. There is still intent in that— both form and function. You can say Pollock’s work is random accident, but I don’t think so.”
Heavy: “Pollock’s paintings are not so random as they look.”
Eleanor: “Pollock had a controlled intent. These seem like fun designs to me.”
Heavy: “I have no doubts it is not easy to execute this kind of work.”
Eleanor: “She is so methodical about something not methodical. Very thorough in her approach, yet the work itself seems to stop before fully developed, maybe because this is her studio, versus a regular show. However, in the show we just saw, the presentation is stellar! Very beautiful. But it overpowers the individual pieces, where the whole becomes greater than its parts. I like her display better than the individual pieces.”
Heavy: “There is no bubble-popping in this work, is how I would define it.”
Eleanor: “It is better to do the right things poorly, than the wrong things really well—Drucker said something like that. And I believe that a real insect can see things very bizarre. These depictions seem tame. Just look through a microscope, and the more refined, the more detail there is. It is only on a molecular level that images get completely abstract, if you wish to be literal.”
Heavy: “This butterfly-in-the-cave sculpture is visually catchy. [Please see the full account in the in-world magazine at the SSJ office.] I like that the butterfly has a shadow.”
Eleanor: “It is very emotional— the butterfly is caught in this cave. The shadow looms large—it is scary for the poor creature. I find much of Ally’s work to be too happy— too sweet, so this one is refreshing.”
Heavy: “This artist reminds me of my childhood. Once at a drawing lesson, the teacher asked us to draw spiders. I wanted to draw the greatest one because I knew spiders well—we would make them fight and bet on them. So I started to draw a very detailed one. While the teacher walked between the bench lines, she saw what I was doing. She took my drawing and held it up to the class and said ‘don’t do this. I’m not interested to know how many hairs the spider has on his legs.’ I was crushed because I thought I’d be awesome and I’d kick ass and she trashed it all! Looking at this bird made me think of that unfortunate event.”
Eleanor: “Actually this bird seems like a toy for a child. Some of these pieces are more like toys or game designs.”
Heavy: “It is childish in shape and in colors, and has too much hair on its legs.”
Eleanor: “There is nothing wrong with good toy design, but it is not the same as art.”
Heavy: “A designer can be an artist, but some designers can’t be more than designers. It is like in driving. Anybody can drive a car, but to win Indianapolis is not something in hand for everybody.”
Eleanor: “Where is the line between design and art?”
Heavy: “Design is more permissive. Some designers can’t even draw a dog!”
Eleanor: “True, and experimenting is good. But you need to know when to push an idea further.”
Heavy: “Think about interior designers— their skill is to put things together.”
Eleanor: “There is a big difference between craft and design and art. Many can be a good craftsmen, or an OK designer, but not much of an artist.”
Heavy: “Maybe she is a designer in real life.”
Eleanor: “She often stops at pretty or cute. The best go beneath to a deeper meaning. I see that is some of these studio pieces more than the ones in the show, that seem so much less emotional. Perhaps it is the emotion that is necessary to give art greater depth. It certainly is the factor that makes the audience remember it!”
Heavy: “For design she is good— I like those banners. They are visually strong enough to read from a distance. A big contrast in red, white, and black.”
Eleanor: “Sometimes in her pretty eye-candy images, there can be something sinister—like those spheres getting big and scary or that trapped butterfly. Her most interesting work has juxtapositions and tension. Like a good novel needs conflict, I think a good work of art, that makes the viewer think, has several levels of meaning. Her work is weakest when it is just design, like those computer compositions, or toys.”
Heavy: “So you agree with me? 2D looks better than her 3D?”
Eleanor: “No. I like the trapped butterfly the best, and it is 3D. Furthermore, I like best how she works with themes. Her gallery show of the crystal theme integrates through every work and even ties into the landscape, maybe too much so. Only those spheres seems to interrupt a too-harmonious environment. It is like wearing an outfit that matches too well, or something that is too perfect. Conflict, contrast, disruption, drama—those can be balanced by harmony and serenity, thus bringing more to both.”
Heavy: “Maybe watching so many vamps and monsters in SL art got to you.”
Eleanor: “No, dear. It is as if I like my coffee black.”
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The couple runs off to discuss more works by:
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