The Aesthete and the Amateur: Rose Galleries
Accidental Acceptance by Heavy Writer, edited by Eleanor Medier
Review of the Rose Theatre and Galleries exhibits by an unlikely fictitious couple—a professional art critic and her wise fool truck-driver husband. Begun in Sim Street Journal #1, the series continues as their viewpoints are colored by their backgrounds.
Thinking about the day to come, I wake up at 4 am on Monday with a smile on my face! Monday 4 am doesn’t sound too appealing to many people, but I’m not one of those people. You’ve got to wake up early if you plan to catch the biggest fish in the local pond and this is a plan I have put on hold for a long time. So this particular Monday, I am about to it put in practice.
I slide out of bed like a shadow, not to disturb my better half. I admit that I had another smile looking at her sleeping innocently and guessing her shapes under the silk sheet—I must also admit that I had not so innocent thoughts—but I have different plans for today, like I said. So I take a shower, and happy as a kid, I boogie like John Lee Hooker at Russian Hall, then had couple of ham sandwiches, made some coffee, and went on the balcony to put my lines, lures, and rods in order.
Planning well, I have all set up for a big catch. Playing with my toys, I didn’t realize it got to be 6 am! No worries—Ele never wakes up before 9 am. But the fish won’t wait all day, so I went again in the kitchen and made a dozen ham sandwiches to take. Looking in the fridge, I see that I’m low on beer (the curse of my life), so I seek a $50 dollar bill from the underwear drawer where Ele keeps household money safe from my thirst. I’m lucky once again because she has just $100 bills, so I grab more than I need for my day!
“Darling, I was just moving these rods to the garage to clear outsome storage space for you. What’s in the package?” I try to direct her attention away from my person.
“Oh you’ll love this dear come, come and see!” She makes me drop my rods in the middle of the room, pushes me in the bathroom, hands me the package, shuts the door, and asks me, excited like a girl in a shoe store: “Put this on. I want to see if fits.”
Two minutes later, dressed like an undertaker, I open the bathroom door, and she looks at me with a critical eye. “It fits you well, but you don’t know how to tie your bow—let me do it for you!”
I try to be polite, but I have to say: “Dear, I can’t breath in this—that’s why I married you in Vegas—so I wouldn’t have to wear a tux.”
“I don’t want to hear comments. I payed three thousand dollars for this. You will wear it, no matter what.”
“What?? Three large? Are you crazy? I can buy so much beer with those greenies…Why would you buy me a tux when you know I will hate it?”
“Heavy, you did it yourself! You said you can be an art critic and that it comes natural to you. So you need to dress like one… Get ready, because we are going to a gallery opening.”
One hour later I drive towards New York, downhearted and dry on beer. After a long quiet journey, we descend in front of The Rose Theatre and Galleries. The minute we enter the gallery, I notice few ladies watching me with interest. So I have to smile at them and am about to go and say hi, when Ele grabs my arm, saying “We are here to work—come!”
I let her lead but couldn’t stop myself from turning back and smiling once again at those ladies, which made Ele squeeze my arm harder and walk faster. That made me feel better about my new outfit—she payed big!
The gallery itself has a fancy set up like being in a museum—really formal. But with all that luxury, I couldn’t find the bar with free martinis—the first thing to look for when visiting a gallery! Lubrication for the eyes!
This place is a series of galleries—like eight shows in one. Mostly 2D, a lot of it just hangs on the wall. But pushing Ele’s buttons is worth it.
Kylie Angel Sabra
Eleanor: “No but it is the most imaginative.”
Me: “I like the colors, dimension. It vibrates, has energy, and is dynamic. It has more than one face in that bubble—like a time traveler.”
Eleanor: “It is called Enlightenment. So it expresses mental expansion—seeing things from more than one point of view—a burst of emotion. It is like a splash—a cubistic ripple. It incorporates the dramatic composition of symmetry, while it disrupts that very balance with subtle change. To have movement and be so balanced is not easy. The mystery of the shifting faces is quite haunting.”
Me: “Oh—I bet you like the dock path? But that’s not art to me—just a snapshot. I can make ten of those a day.”
Eleanor: “You don’t think photography is art? A compelling image is a compelling image, no matter what medium it is done in. Here, I like this composition and the mystery of direction. It has a strong composition and drama”
Me: “You got me wrong! Photography can be art., but it is first an accident—just take thousands of photos and a few might be considered art. These accidents are independent of what the artist might have been looking to feature. The real art is in sorting happy accidents out of a bunch of crap—so I don’t think much of photo artists, but there are exceptions. Might this be a chiaroscuro rendering with mythological references?”
Eleanor, stares at me with disbelief: “Where did you learn the term ‘chiaroscuro’??”
I puff myself up with pride: “I found it in an art magazine on the coffee table.”
Eleanor: “Well dear. That term really has nothing to do with this painting. It describes the technique of using light and darks to create a very realistic effect. This piece is hardly realistic.”
Me: “No? This is the kind of image that comes to you when lost in the fog—like a celestial voice telling you how to get home.”
Eleanor: “It may seem spiritual in how the faces float, and even suggest change or movement. The interpretations are many: ghosts, gods, aliens, a planet forming, an explosion, the big bang? Even Narcissist looking at his reflection in a pond. Perhaps it is an expression of the expanding universe. Mystery makes it discussable. Is not mystery also the strength of this photograph?”
Eleanor: “Here are compositions that prove my point that photographs are art as well as painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. These are created with character settings. It can be hard to find originality with photographs, however. This is why I generally don’t like them. Nor do I like the ambiguity of a painting to look like a photograph or a photograph to look like a painting. I see no point in that.”
Me: “Me neither. These all look lonely to me—being stuck in circumstances you can’t control.Maybe I want out of there—I wonder how I got in there in the first place.”
Eleanor: “Wait— I LOVE good photos in publishing!! But as a visual art form, most lack a distinction of the artist’s voice and personality. Yet, these are very expressive and finely crafted. They use the virtual environment to enhance the setting.”
Me: “This Deviant Art does often look all the same. Maybe it is the moodiness and the lack of color that make them stand out.”
Me: “I saw the term on Google. It said people do weird things in Photoshop and call it Deviant Art. You haven’t heard the term?”
Eleanor, looks shocked that I have: “Oh—yes I know the term. These are more imaginative than most of that work. So many manipulated images look like one artist could have done them all.”
Me: “I like guy in the rain. You can actually feel the rain there. Just a lonely guy downhearted because his girl left him. It is the story behind it that is interesting. How did he end up in the rain? Is he Jesus walking on the water? Is there light on the horizon, or are there storm clouds coming? These images depend on the mystery—making stories and identifying with the situations. When have I felt like this?”
Eleanor: “He does represent human angst—this title is Bladerunner, so you think of the movie. But would you if you did not read the title? Does good art allow more stories?”
Me: “I haven’t seen that movie. I prefer to come with my own story. He is any guy who got drunk the night before and doesn’t know where he is—he might be in jail with those stripes? This looks like a jail cell, or a ruined house. Because he is just a profile, any guy who parties too much can be in his shoes.”
Eleanor: “It has the vagueness of isolation—I like these a lot.”
Me: “Lol I hate when we agree.”
Eleanor: “There must be an integrity of medium. Is it enough to just upload a drawing? Must there not be something else that happens when making it virtual? And some decisions are not good ones—this yellow border color is distracting.”
Me: “The lady in the hall is struggling—the floor behind her looks like it deteriorates. She knows where she is going. Sad—it looks like she will never reach that door.”
Eleanor: “It is called One Step Closer. The artist uses that strong perspective in a similar way to the first painting we discussed. Strong, simple, and pulls in the viewer through its drama.”
Me: “I only look at titles when I’m not inspired by the subject :). This drawing makes me think of you—moving ahead but so slow.”
Eleanor, ignores my personal criticism: “This has a very sad feeling—somber, stark, even lonely.”
Me: “Mid way there is a black shadow—that might not be anything good, so the hardest part is about to come. She is just at beginning and already looks exhausted. She can’t turn back.”
Eleanor: “Did her steps cause the floor to deteriorate? That is mysterious, with more challenges ahead before getting to her goal. I feel sorry for her.”
Me: “Her steps mark her journey, but also can be like burning the bridges behind her, or leaving the past. This can be interpreted in so many ways.”
Eleanor: “It pulls you in, and demonstrates how a lot can be done with a little. So many artists will overwork an idea—this one does have simplicity, and thus a purity of form.”
Me: “Now how can someone who did such a simple, but such a telling piece, do these others?. What’s this? A crematory oven?”
Eleanor: “This next piece doesn’t look like the same person did it. Well at least we have seen one piece worth it to look at for 10 minutes. I am happy if I see one piece that moves me in a show.”
Me: “Do you know tarot symbols?”
Eleanor: “They are similar to a card deck, but they tell fortunes—what influences or impacts your situation, and who may factor into events.”
Me: “The symbols are fairly obvious—a Lion as Strength, for example. Big surprise.”
Eleanor: “Lots of artist have illustrated the tarot deck. You may wonder why cards are made big and placed on the wall. Is it art? Or cards? Or both? They are stronger as a series than individually. The use of black is consistent, even though there is a lot visually going on with the components.”
Me: “Maybe the way they are put on the walls tell a story?”
Eleanor: “The Temptress is next to the Lovers….”
Me: “You need a gypsy to decipher this! I like ‘The Devil.’”
Eleanor: “Each one tells a story, don’t you think?”
Me: “Only if you believe in fortune tellers. I don’t :)”
Eleanor: “Perhaps you mustto appreciate them truly.”
Me: “Many of these characters play music—like Bluesmen, so isfine with me. It is midnight and Robert Johnson meets the devil at the crossroads. The Bluesman sells his soul to the devil to play that guitar—Blues is corrupted by the devil. Even the Judge in Justice has a banjo. There is so much corruption that this judge will do better playing the banjo than judging. He looks more like the jester for the king.”
Eleanor: “He doesn’t look too serious. The style is symbolic—collaging clip art. I like that each piece is different but the whole looks good together. They look a little creepy. Here is a question: if you don’t know about tarot cards, can you appreciate this art?”
Me: “Well, the compositions are nice, but don’t have much mystery. And these lovers looks more like Adams family than lovers. It is surreal, but it a borrowed story.”
Eleanor: “That may be a good reason to present them then. If a lot of viewers do not know about the Tarot, this can be an introduction. How the system weaves characters and circumstances is intriguing. Much like astrology, it is general enough to see what you want in it. And therein lies its dangers: to interpret situations through a lens. Like a self-fulfilling prophesy, if you expect something specific to happen, you may actually set it up. So I find that creepy. This artist has captured that aspect. However, he can push expression much farther than by hooking onto this convention—he can express original symbols.”
Me: “I would like to hire this guy to come paint flames and lightning bolts on my mustang.”
Eleanor: “There are intriguing pieces here— good and bad. It is mixed. The orange ones are trite. The blue ones are the best in this collection. Inconsistency is really common in SL. The middle one of this capital building is weak— though I like the drama of the large sky. It feels unfinished.”
Me: “That one makes me think of the Disneyland logo at the beginning of a movie.”
Eleanor: “But this one seems like something is going to happen. The warm/cool color treatment ties the composition together, giving an interplay between the foreground still life and the landscape out the window.”
Me: “It takes skill to make transition without harming the eyes.”
Eleanor: “The left-most one looks like science fiction. There is some bigger, mysterious, more powerful structure, controlling the city.”
Me: “People living in boxes one on top of another and so on? We think the city as the high tech of civilization but it is truly just a deck of stacked cards?”
Eleanor: “There is strength to that structure. Cards are fragile.”
Me: “The lower side looks like something erodes the town—it floats on water, going to the drain. Auto destruction. They build bigger and bigger till all sinks.”
Eleanor: “It has a scary mechanized quality.There is that lightning bolt too, stormy sky. Like destruction from many directions.”
Eleanor: “And it is unlimited in length. it has a harsh quality, unsettling.”
Me: “I would not want this in our living room—that sewer might smell bad—ll the trash of the city mixed in the water.”
Eleanor: “This other one smells good—perfume bottles on the table, a candle, and open window. And it has a landscape—painting within a painting.”
Me: “The image has too many details, even the label on the bottles you can read.”
Eleanor: “The blue bottles tie into the blue in the landscape. The objects group together. It feels organized. And you aren’t sure whether it is an artist’s table, a dressing table, a mantle, or a shelf. Discussable art has ambiguity.”
Me: “The buildings have as many details as the objects in front. The perspective is created by the size of objects not by details they have.”
Eleanor: “In reality the buildings in the far distance will lose detail. Here the detail ties the two levels together in colors, sizes, and rendering. The candle position is also a dominant focal point. It reflects the shapes of the orange buildings.”
Me: “The buildings seem to be landmarks that fit the title.”
Eleanor: “Everything in this painting works. It makes you ask questions and to want to know more.”
Me: “Know more? There is nothing else more! Title says all. What do you think about this one with the wreck of a boat?”
Eleanor: “It looks unfinished.”
Me: “It seems like no-subject painting. Could have put at least some birds flying there or a tree.”
Eleanor: “Yes, something, even in the background, happening—a more powerful point. Perhaps the cloud forms an ominous tornado to threaten the fragile boat. Now this one with the red door, doesn’t fit in the rest of the show too well.”
Me: “Maybe the guy has been thrown out of a brothel. Probably he didn’t have money to pay and they kept his clothes. The left side is a bad neighborhood.”
Eleanor: “The composition is unsettling, though symmetrical. It has a neoclassic side on the right and the left side is more cubist.”
Me: “He looks eager to go back inside, but they will not let him. Probably he is a respectable man. If he will get caught in this position, he will be ruined 🙂 Haaa—it is called ‘Fragile.’ Now that’s a good title.
Well, I guess we are done here Ele. What about some lunch at Colosimo’s and a bottle of wine? Then you can drive home, and I will just enjoy myself after being such a good sport!” Not waiting for her answer, I walked to the exit, sensing her following behind.
She doesn’t know it yet, but next weekend I’ll take her camping. She owes it to me now. But really, why all this fuss? All this dressing up and parading around for art? Why go to galleries when you can find everything on Google?
OK—I enjoyed seeing the crazy artists and collectors being nice to each other. And, don’t tell Ele, but I agree that it is amazing what people will think up next. Now, with this new tux, she has no reason to leave me at home—and I saw many ladies there who are easy on the eyes.
The rest of the day was nice. Ele bought the lunch, of course, and I had a juicy rare steak, so big that it stuck out beyond the plate borders. I love to see the look on her face when I enjoy every bite—she pretends she doesn’t notice. Ele doesn’t eat meat, so she has her usual salad. But we each have to have a plate of Mama’s pasta—life is too short to resist! And because it is the middle of the day, Ele is more into coffee than wine. She just has to watch me enjoy it this time!
Tomorrow I’ll definitely go fishing!
This series has continued from the previous issue as Eleanor and Heavy continue to make their way through the virtual cultural landscape.
Contributions are encouraged if they cover topics relevant to the real world readers. Comments and opinions are also encouraged.
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