WOA: Cold Spring or Bust!

Posted on December 15, 2011

Okay, it’s not as grandiose as sending Project Runway contestants to Paris (remember those glamorous days, darlings?) but it was fun getting the artists out of the city for awhile.

And it made for a somewhat charming backdrop for the challenge, finding a portrait subject and rendering them creatively. You can find all kinds of really odd birds in your average small town, so it was fun watching a bunch of self-consciously oddball reality show characters come face to face with the grand old tradition (far older than reality TV, that’s for sure) of the American Small Town Character.

 

Congratulations to Kymia. In some ways, her portrait was a little conventional, but she managed to imbue it with just enough oddness to draw you in and keep you looking at it. It’s a cliche to say this, but it really “told a story.”

And it helped that she chose probably the best subjects she could have found.

 

We didn’t love it like it was awesome or anything. The art style really isn’t to our tastes, nor do we think it’s all that original. But it’s perfectly realized and thoughtfully done. More than anyone else, she fulfilled the dictates of the challenge in an artful manner.

 

Although we have to admit, Young came pretty close. As much as we’ve railed against the obviousness of his pieces and the overpraise he’s been getting from the judges, he zeroed in on a pretty fantastic idea: getting a local portrait artist to do his portrait in 20 minutes and using that as a basis for a portrait of the artist who painted it. Metacommentary!

 

And we liked very much his idea of breaking down the photographs of the artist to his component parts. All of this, to our way of thinking, was setting him on the path of one of producing his best, most thoughtful piece. Unfortunately, he screwed it all up in the staging, going for something that obscured what it was he was trying to do. It’s not at all obvious that we’re looking at photographs of the artist producing the painting we’re also looking at. It’s just a meticulously jumbled mess.

As for the judges’ opinion that he should have just hung the painting and let it serve as a portrait of the man who painted it, we don’t believe for one second that they would have done anything but eviscerate him for that.

We thought her use of materials was interesting and that it made for a visually arresting piece, but the tone of it seems completely contrary to what she was claiming to be doing. She saw this as a tribute to the man and to us, it looked like a rather disturbing and unflattering way of portraying him.

Still, good enough to wave her through to the finals and we’re happy to see that.

 

The thing about Dusty that kind of annoyed us was that he was obsessed with two things about himself: that he’s from Arkansas and not used to the big city (For god’s sake, he got emotional when he saw trees this episode. What is he, a wood-elf? ) and that he has a daughter. We get it; these are powerful things. But is there anything else going on as an artist and a person? It’s literally all he had to say about himself, over and over. “I’m from Arkansas and I have a little girl.”

So when he saw this little girl, we knew it was all over for him.

 

Because first off, everyone else was scoring portraits of local characters. This girl, while adorable, did not inspire a portrait as interesting as any of the other ones going on in the work room. Second, because he chose a subject so likely to inspire yet another dreary bout of homesickness, he literally could not conceive of a way of executing it that didn’t have him falling back on old tricks. He’s already been defined as an artist who repeats ideas too much, what with the whole “map of America” thing, but he’s also an artist who does this “paint by numbers” mosaic stuff way too much as well.

But what really sold us on the idea that he should be sent home was the fact that he recognized that a disintegrating portrait would be more interesting, but did nothing to make it come about. He just let a few candy pieces fall off and tried to claim it was all part of a larger idea. Sure, Lola was a total bitch to point that out, but she was also quite right. If he thought a disintegrating portrait of childhood had merit, then do something in the art to make that theme apparent. In short: if he’d spent 30 seconds knocking candy off deliberately and strewing it on the floor, he might have saved this piece.

 

Our joy is boundless. Annoying Girl got sent packing.

 

We’ll give her some small credit for a few things. She found great subjects, she had the germ of a good idea…

 

…and she even wrote a long, self-indulgent title that actually fit the piece and was a little touching.

But somehow she got it in her head that the judges loved her handwriting so much that they wanted to see it in every piece. They only ever really praised it once, but she kept going back to it, defining her limitations a little more each time. She had great material with which to work, and she couldn’t think of anything more to do with it than arrange it like a 6th grader’s class presentation. All of the things she could have done with those bills and she just lined them up like that. The possibilities for manipulating them are screaming at her, and she’s too busy writing a letter to give it any thought. Worse yet, the actual picture of her subjects was over-manipulated in the extreme, obscuring them and making them look ridiculous and insignificant, which is exactly the opposite of her stated intentions for the piece.

 

[Screencaps: tomandlorenzo.com]

    • Geoff Dankert

      Right on, TLo. Once again, Lola did exactly what the judges have been railing at her NOT to do: take every idea she had and throw them (literally) against the wall. If she wanted to go with the idea that the images of the currency was portraiture, then fine … but then don’t put the teeny-tiny snapshot of the two guys on the little ledge; it looked like she was hedging her bets and being too calculating. And oh my G-d, so much crying in this episode … even from China! Chow!

      • Anonymous

         I will give her a smidge of credit for not going the obvious route of being their pictures as dollar bills.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Karen-Stephens-Bassett/1503492602 Karen Stephens Bassett

      I am so glad snarky Lola got kicked to the curb.

    • MilaXX

      If this had been (other than his self portrait) the only time Dusty had done that mosaic, I would have been okay with it. if he had taken it a step further with the candy fallen off, I might have loved it. At this stage of the game however, he was deservedly sent packing. Lola on the other hand kept trying to get by on doing the spaghetti test; throw everything at the wall and see if it sticks. besides being annoying she sucks as an artist. I was glad to see her. Young’s idea was interesting, but he’s been so over praised I really didn’t care about his piece. Kymia and Sarah have been the ones that I’ve liked from the beginning. even though I think Sarah’s piece got a little lost with the burnt names, I still think these 2 deserved to go to the finals.

    • Pennymac

      Been waiting for this recap! I was thrown into major Bravo nostalgia watching China! Chow! have tears in her eyes as she eliminated Dusty and the Uber-annoying Lola. I actually like all of the pieces except for hers. I had my heart in my throat during the judging because I was having flashbacks to the Gretchen+ugly clothes = win; and Anya+talentless hack = win. I must have reality TV PTSD or something. Anyway, loved it! (And thought the falling M & M’s were endearing)

      • Anonymous

        “Reality TV PTSD”!  Good one!

    • Anonymous

      “Tlo said: Our joy is boundless. Annoying Girl got sent packing.”

      Yes. Our long national nightmare is over (til the reunion).

      –GothamTomato

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      I just want to know where the idea of “colorful small town character” came from?  I grew up in a town of less than 3000 people, and it was the second largest town in the county.  So I have some experience here when I say that in my experience there really aren’t that many interesting or colorful people in small towns.

      • http://twitter.com/ILikeShiny Cindi Williams

        All of your town’s colorful characters must have wound up in my hometown. Sad to say I’m related to half of them. Let me know if you are interested in some thumbnail sketches. ;-)

      • Call me Bee

        That’s interesting.  I grew up in a city, but have many friends from small towns all over Wisconsin (one has about 175 people in it!)   Each time I visit one of them, I have always found the resisdents I meet to be quicky and “colorful”.  I guess it’s all in the perspective, eh? 

      • Anonymous

        My great-grandfather was a small town character, known for doing things like leaving his car running in the street. If he took too long on his errands, the local sheriff would part it for him.

      • BuffaloBarbara

        It depends (my name says “Buffalo,” my real life says, “little town in the sticks out in Bills Country”).  Do you count “bored juvenile delinquent” as a “colorful small town character”?

      • BuffaloBarbara

        It depends (my name says “Buffalo,” my real life says, “little town in the sticks out in Bills Country”).  Do you count “bored juvenile delinquent” as a “colorful small town character”?

      • Anonymous

        Shannon: Is it possible that you are one of the interesting and colorful “characters” from your small town, and the reason you don’t notice others is that they seem just like you and, thus, ordinary by comparison? :-)

      • Anonymous

        I think that the “colorful small town character” description is pretty funny. Cold Spring is about an hour north of NYC. Most of the residents commute into the city daily for work and more than a few homes in this town are owned by very bold-faced names in finance, fashion and entertainment. 

    • Anonymous

      Very happy to see Lola go.  To me it looked like a high school mural project:  Paste objects that describe the subject up on pieces of posterboard.

      This was the first piece of Young’s that I thought was interesting.  At least he stopped before scattering his usual markers and pencils to make it “interactive!”   And at least the judges stopped short of fawning over everything he did.

      I really hope either Kymia or Sara J. come up with something jawdropping for the finale.  

    • Anonymous

      I still don’t understand why Lola simply didn’t make her own money with her subjects’ face on it.

      • Pam Winters

        I thought of that. And then I thought, “Well, if I thought of it, Lola’s probably thought of it and decided it’s not original and or MFA-worthy enough.”

        Hey, Lola’s letter (what I can read of it) is actually interesting. Why isn’t she a writer rather than a visual artist?

        • Anonymous

          I agree that it would have been a “gimme.” Also, I doubt Lola has the skill to pull it off.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49702581 Susan Bullard Mayer

      We people from the piney woods (though I’m from Louisiana NOT Arkansas) love our trees.

      • Anonymous

        I live in the sticks of Pennsylvania, and if I hadn’t seen a tree in a month or two (not sure how long filming took) I’d be excited to see a tree, too. Don’t know if I’d tear up like Dusty though.

      • Anonymous

        We New Yorkers love our trees too. In fact, you can get a $1200 fine for hurting a tree.

        –GothamTomato

    • Anonymous

      When Dusty had the idea about the fortunes, I thought that could have really have been something.  It was a shame he ran out of time and couldn’t explore that more.  As far a Lola goes, so happy so see that immature little brat go home.

    • Lori

      Loved this challenge, the only one this season I’ve actually loved, but as usual with this group the results were underwhelming.  Grading on a curve Kymia definitely deserved her win.  I’m looking forward to her gallery show.  Sarah’s too.  Young, only if he can get out of his own way.

      Does Simon de Pury really not know how to pronounce “Arkansas”?  But I crush on him and his “Arkanzass” charmed.

      • MilaXX

        A lot of Europeans pronounce it like that. I have friends in both London & France and they thought it odd that we pronounce it “Ar-Kan-Saw”

        • Anonymous

          I taunt my Kansas friends that we only pronounce it  this way to annoy them.   :) 
          Per my Arkansas history class (5th grade?), the pronunciation is based on an Indian word.

          • Anonymous

            Your comment made me smile. Some of us Kansans pronounce it Our-Kansas as a joke. :)

        • Lori

          Thanks, Milaxx.  That’s funny because I’m half French, have traveled abroad and had French relatives come here, and it occurs to me reading your post that there is no reason anybody would have said that word, “Arkansas.”  In fact it’s possible I’ve never said it either.

    • Anonymous

      I liked that Kymia’s also has that kitschy “black velvet painting” sort of look to it.

    • Anonymous

      Sorry I disagree about Dusty! Sure his work was uninspiring and done before, but an artist cannot be knocked for allowing forces outside of him to affect his piece and then embrace them. Duchamp’s “Large Glass” was cracked in storage, a fact that he embraced and became on of the most famous parts of the works. Sometimes you have to let nature happen to your work as an artist, doesn’t mean you can’t embrace it into your work.

      • http://twitter.com/susanpcollier Susan Collier

        Indeed. Andy Warhol sold his canvases that had a bullethole from Valerie Solanas’ attempt on his life.

      • Anonymous

        I’m surprised no one referenced that Duchamp story. Its definitely an argument in favor of Dusty. But when compared to the work of the artists, if the mistake is the only interesting thing in the piece, you’ve got a problem.

    • Call me Bee

      For once, I totally agreed with the judges.  I did love Kymia’s protrait–a couple of odd ducks surrounded by their stuff.  I thought it was perfect.  And very universal, asn there are couples like that in almost every small town I’ve eve been to.  Which is a lot. 
      I knew Dusty woud be sent home–both he and Lola should been auf’ed long ago. 
      Re: Young’s piece–his idea was brilliant, and I loved the protrait the artist did of him, but I don’t understand why the photos were displayed the way they were.  I liked the idea of the protrait in pieces, but I guess I don’t get the display. 
      I also liked Sara’s piece a lot, although it was less portrait and more tribute. 
      I’m excited to see what the three of them produce for the final gallery show, given some time and funds. 

    • Anonymous

      “Tlo said: But somehow she got it in her head that the judges loved her handwriting so much that they wanted to see it in every piece.”

      Yes, because she cannot draw and has no actual artistic talent and not much imagination either. She’s like one of those kids who wants to be an artist so they can live “the life”, (ie; live in a loft, get drunk at Cedar Bar, avoid getting a regular job/career, etc.) rather than because they have any talent or anything to say.

      She kept writing to obfuscate the fact that she has no technical artistic skill. She’s a con artist.

      –GothamTomato

      • Anonymous

        o m g.  You just WENT there.  lol.  

      • Anonymous

        This a THOUSAND TIMES.  I was hoping she’d use the ‘artwork’ on the old bills that she responded to initially as the basis for a portrait, but as soon as she said, ‘well, does a portrait have to be representational?’, I started shaking my head.   She just doesn’t have the chops to do anything other than collage and tiresome navel-gazing journalling.

      • Anonymous

        She also kept writing because, like a lot of immature twentysomethings, she thinks her insights into the world, the universe and everything are of great interest to the rest of us.
        Not.

        • MilaXX

          Both of these comments time infinity! Lola appears to be little more than a wanna be.

        • Pam Winters

          I have a hope that, with the right influences, she’ll grow out of a lot of this. There is some there there, I think. (of all her pieces, I might have liked the very first one the best!)

          Nevertheless, I’m happy that the judges finally dropped her and Dusty. I don’t know that either of them could have done a collection of work that maintained my interest, whereas I’m sure that the other three are capable of it.

      • Anonymous

        THANK YOU! Very well said.

    • Anonymous

      I thought Lola’s outburst over Dusty’s piece was totally ridiculous. To my knowledge no one ever did that to anyone else this season, and she just seemed like a petulant child trying to save her own ass. I found it hilarious when she then burst into tears begging people not to see her as bitch…oh please. Spare me. Thank God her whiney self was sent home!

      • Pennymac

        I agree. That wasn’t edited to make her look bad, she was just behaving badly. I have always detested those “mean girl” types.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a writer, not an artist, but Ive seen people go off like that in workshops every once in awhile.  And everyone of them thought they looked iconoclastic and the only brave enough to speak the truth, while the rest of us rolled our eyes.

        (Not, to be clear, at being negative–but at specifically trying to undermine something the professor/critic/leader singled out for praise in a way that was about attacking the person, not the piece.)

        • Pam Winters

          I’m a writer as well. Sometimes this response is ego/insecurity; sometimes it’s immaturity; sometimes it’s narcissism and its attendant tunnel vision; sometimes it’s just an inability to detach from one’s art.

          I stand by the idea that Lola has some “art in her,” but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be in a workshop–or on WOA–with her!

    • Anonymous

      Lola’s piece nearly offended me.  I mean, last week (or the week before?) she traced a photo from a projector, and this week she used a souped up photocopier.  And…copied some stuff.  

      I work in law enforcement and I absolutely loved Sarah J’s piece!  The brilliance of it was the fact she displayed those years of service, but viewer was intrigued by the off-beat beauty and (I mean this in a good way) the ugliness too.  Public safety is an art, and a complicated one.  Sarah J, if you are reading this, thank you so much, you hit the mark.

    • http://twitter.com/ILikeShiny Cindi Williams

      I was glad Kymia got the win. While that style of art isn’t my favorite, she did a great job with capturing the subject. I liked Sara’s piece too. I kind of thought Young made it in based on previous work; his piece didn’t work for me. To be fair, I can’t say it was worse than Dusty’s or Lola’s, so I’m fine with his inclusion.

    • Anonymous

      I really enjoyed this episode and the pieces that resulted from the challenge.  It was interesting to see the artists interacting with someone other than each other and the judges, and while I was sad to see Dusty go–just because I liked him, I agreed with the decision for the final three. 

      Sara and Kymia have been my favorites for quite a while, although Kymia has let her high anxiety trip her up more than once, and she’s lucky that she was kept around long enough to produce that very affecting portrait.  I liked Sara’s more than the judges did–I thought the use of the burned names was clever, and the arrangement of the parts was striking.  Agree with you about Young–really good idea, good start on execution, and then he ruined it by just making it too much, too scattered.

      As for Lola, she should have been sent home many episodes ago, so goodbye and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. And I don’t think her subjects were the “secret historians of Cold Spring” either–they’re currency collectors who just happen to live in Cold Spring. But Lola has never been one to let facts get in her way. 

    • Anonymous

      I missed the episode but ecstatic Lola was booted. To me she was just too irritating-this season’s Miles. Someone who is not untalented but brought a certain amount of bullshit pretentions and gameplaying.

      I am actually looking forward to what Young can conjure up outside the constraints of the show. His output was decent and overpraised but I still find his self-portrait the most exciting thing he’s done that’s been presented on the show

      If we’re lucky a new moniker for us minions might be unborn

      However I am not all that jazzed about further seasons. The show isn’t horrid but I find it hard to get into it and so many challenges (like 4 in a row) had large monetary prizes attached to them. Way too many. Having a single challenge with 20-30 thousand as a bonus win is 1 thing but 4?! That’s one thing that I don’t like about Top Chef. the challenges now have bonus prizes that accumulate far beyond the main prize for the title winner. This past season someone one a car just in the 3rd or 4th episode. Use to be the they would win something like a expensive book from the guest judge

      • Pam Winters

        I’d like to see:

        –longer and more detailed crits

        –a wider range of artists (especially in terms of background and age)

        –elimination or reduction of challenges whose prizes end up dictating too much of the content of the art (e.g., Kymia’s bare breasts were never going to get into Entertainment Weekly no matter how good the piece was)

        –fewer team challenges, although one or two would be fine

         

        • Anonymous

          I would love to see more of the crits, especially as its been hinted the artists participate more than we see.  (Sucklord defending Tewes, Lola this week.)

      • BuffaloBarbara

        The money prizes kind of bugged me, too.

        What I’d like to see:
        Artists forced out of their comfort zone “styles” much more forcefully.  None of these people is old enough to have enough experience to have a “style.” 

        More time for the challenges.  It’s one thing to expect a dress to be put sketched and put together in a day or two.  It’s something else with artwork–I mean, just logistcally, you’re excluding a lot of materials just because of drying time! 

        • Anonymous

          Yep, Young has $50K now–that’s half the grand prize–he ended up with thousands of dollars because he the good luck to be paired with Sara J.  He made auf-worthy art that challenge.  It just kind of reeks.

          Oh well, I knew Young was destined for the finale and at least he had an interesting idea this time.  Dusty had gotten stale and Lola is just immature–so happy that Kymia and Sara J. are going.

          Wish Michelle hadn’t flamed out on the car parts–I think she was the most talented of the lot, but not everyone’s good at reality shows. 

          And SO much better than the ghost of Project Runway haunting Lifetime.

        • Anonymous

          I definitely think it’s good to force the artists out of their normal way of working, but I think the show does enough that with the challenges (for example Kymia’s work is mostly drawing and painting and over the course of the show I think she has mostly done sculpture and then of course all the unconventional materials challenges of course force people to be creative). However I think the suggestion of forcing people to work in different “styles” is a bit ridiculous. First of all the idea of styles as being these concrete things that you can sort of move around is false because any given style means something different to different people (for the most part). Also, the idea of these people not being old enough to have a person art-making style is crazy. From day one of my art education it seemed that it was important for my teachers that I develop a point of view and my voice as an artists (which I think is how you are defining styles). While I still work in a variety of media and “styles” and may not have one solid point of view, I have definitely made steps in that direction and all of these people have more experience than me so I’m sure they are even clearer in their personal aesthetics as artists. So if you’re saying that they need to be asked to change their styles for the show because they’re too young I think that’s completely false (that was the problem with the Pop Art challenge). And if I’ve misread and you’re saying they need to have more unconventional or specific materials type challenges (ie. things that force painters to sculpt or photography people to draw, etc) then I agree with the merit of those challenges but I think there are enough of them. 

      • Anonymous

        this. . . To me she was just too irritating-this season’s Miles. Someone who is
        not untalented but brought a certain amount of bullshit pretentions and
        gameplaying.

        And then this episode where she could not contain her need to roll her eyes and jump in a criticize her fellow contestant

    • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

      Whenever I think of Cold Spring, I think of West Point and the Civil War and all the military importance.  I’m surprised no one went there, but that might have been the obvious route.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1326120071 Gaby Ripoll

        I wouldn’t be surprised if none of them were aware of it. Art school doesn’t engender a lot of historical knowledge unless that’s what your art is about. 

        • http://twitter.com/drnels Nels P. Highberg

          True, but the downtown where they were walking is covered in historical markers.  That’s how I learned about it, not in school.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1326120071 Gaby Ripoll

            Ah. Then I also wouldn’t put it past this crew to not be very observant either. BAD ARTISTS. 

    • Anonymous

      TLo, great review as usual…. and at our house we were so happy Lola was gone… but come on! aren’t you going to comment on the fabulosity of China’s backless trench coat? :-) also, the dress she was wearing at the gallery show looked so much like a Siriano!

    • Anonymous

      Excuse me, but you have forgotten the most important thing.  Who made China Chow’s coat?  (or dress?  or jacket and dress?  or whatever it was?)

      • MilaXX

        Yes that trench was all kinds of fab. I wouldn’t mind having it in my closet but it probably cost as much as my car.

      • Anonymous

        That coat was pretty amazing and she looked pretty fabulous wearing it. I also liked the beige ruffly-loofah dress she wore in this episode as well.

      • Anonymous

        I literally whimpered (with pleasure and envy) at that trench.  Sigh. . .

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

      Cold Spring is a rather arty place- I wonder what they’d have produced from a rougher city a few miles farther north- like Newburgh

      • Anonymous

        Hey! Thats where I live. Its not rough, its… ok nevermind. They probably couldn’t get their insurance to clear filming here ;) 

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1344922354 Eric Scheirer Stott

          Newburgh is a fine example of how a so-called renewal project can contribute to decline.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-Cleary/1201575213 Patrick Cleary

      The problem I have with Young is that he has nothing but concept. I have yet to see any technical skill beyond the very basics taught in art school, and his photography (which he claims is his best skill) didn’t look all that impressive, either. He took another artist’s work and did nothing with it but frame it with his own…”work” (sorry, but could cutting up and gluing a bunch of cropped photos have taken him any time at all) and then spun his ever-present line of bullshit that the judges just eat up.

      I would have preferred Dusty over Young until this week, when I saw his process for mosaic. He does paint-by-numbers using unusual materials. In essence, the opposite of Young, but with the same results. All technique, but no artistry, because he used a photo, got the colors by manipulating in Photoshop and then traced it with M&Ms. Nothing behind it but an impressive amount of tedium.

      I’m convinced Young will win because the judges appreciate his combination of youth and earnestness, much as how Miles and Abdi got by with very obvious pieces that spoke to just how little they’d experienced in life so far. Still, this show is leaps and bounds ahead of almost all other competitive reality series.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      Well, let’s be fair with Dusty’s obsessions–that’s the character they decided to build for him.  Because to New  York producers, being a dad from Arkansas (or “ar-KANS-as,” as Simon put it, apparently never having heard the word spoken aloud before) is deeply exotic.  Also, with being away during his daughter’s first year, he probably was thinking about her quite a lot.  You miss a lot of things in those months.

      The thing is, I’d have liked to have seen something of what he was feeling about his daughter and how he missed her.  Instead, there was just a general little girl mosaic.

      I thought Lola’s idea was interesting, but I wasn’t impressed with the outcome.

      Young’s idea was great, but I thought it focused too much on the other man’s work.  If he’d won it, he’d have had to share the win.  I didn’t really like the bits-and-pieces.

      I wasn’t that thrilled with Kymia’s, but whatever, she’s easily the best, so put her through and give her the win.  Or maybe I’m just uncomfortable with people who share my name, as female subject did, making it hard to like it.  It’s a weird tic of mine.

      Sarah’s?  I thought the nailed portrait looked like something from MoBA, and the other side, I didn’t care that much about.  But I’m glad she’s through instead of Lola.  I think she’ll put together a better show.

    • BuffaloBarbara

      Well, let’s be fair with Dusty’s obsessions–that’s the character they decided to build for him.  Because to New  York producers, being a dad from Arkansas (or “ar-KANS-as,” as Simon put it, apparently never having heard the word spoken aloud before) is deeply exotic.  Also, with being away during his daughter’s first year, he probably was thinking about her quite a lot.  You miss a lot of things in those months.

      The thing is, I’d have liked to have seen something of what he was feeling about his daughter and how he missed her.  Instead, there was just a general little girl mosaic.

      I thought Lola’s idea was interesting, but I wasn’t impressed with the outcome.

      Young’s idea was great, but I thought it focused too much on the other man’s work.  If he’d won it, he’d have had to share the win.  I didn’t really like the bits-and-pieces.

      I wasn’t that thrilled with Kymia’s, but whatever, she’s easily the best, so put her through and give her the win.  Or maybe I’m just uncomfortable with people who share my name, as female subject did, making it hard to like it.  It’s a weird tic of mine.

      Sarah’s?  I thought the nailed portrait looked like something from MoBA, and the other side, I didn’t care that much about.  But I’m glad she’s through instead of Lola.  I think she’ll put together a better show.

    • Judy_J

      I actually stood up and cheered when Lola was told her work of art didn’t work.  “I wrote a letter!”  Was it a letter-writing challenge, little Lola?  No, I believe it was a PORTRAITURE challenge, and her”portrait” was to take tiny pictures of her subjects and glue them onto a scrap of paper.  The paper money got more attention from her than the actual subjects.  Boo-hoo, and bye-bye.  Not a moment too soon, if you ask me.

    • Anonymous

      I think Lola must be a time traveller.  Because she’s totally that criptic, artsy, totally disturbed and really insufferable girl who sat behind me in high school Latin class in 1987. Same hair and army green jacket too.

      • Pam Winters

        That girl never really goes away. (But some of us grow out of it!)

    • Anonymous

      Annoying Girl’s handwriting is like the style you see in commercials when someone writes to Tide to tell them how much they love their detergent. It’s just so manipulated and fake. 

    • Anonymous

      Lola has done more just-throwing-together-shit shit than anyone on the show, with no clear intention behind most of the things she does other than hoping some part of her crap accidentally deeply resonates with the judges. Man I can’t stand her.

    • Anonymous

      By the way, Jerry Saltz is saying in his blog today that the elimination of Lola was a mistake and that Sara should have been eliminated.

      • Anonymous

        He’s been wrong all season and as a critic he’s lost all respect from me.

        • Judy_J

          If you go to the extended judging video on the Bravo site, you can see Jerry say that Lola’s work is like something out of a textbook, then he goes on to say how ORIGINAL it was.  His defense of her is indefensible.

      • Anonymous

        He’s too easily influenced by the pretty girls, especially if they get naked.

        • http://beautyforrealgirls.blogspot.com/ accidental housewife

          I really think that’s what it is. He was falling all over himself about her nude photo last week. And her problem is she’s used to men making a fuss over her art (or “art”) because she’s pretty. I think she was in shock that it ultimately didn’t work on the show.

        • Anonymous

          Yup.  But this last blog made him look not only like a bad reality tv critic, but a bad critic in general, way too easily influenced and than grouchy and defensive later.

    • Anonymous

      Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Banksy wouldn’t have had a chance with these judges. Seriously.

    • http://profiles.google.com/misslauraschultz Laura Schultz

      Kymia’s painting is the kind of painting I would buy. I love it. Sara’s is very disappointing, and I completely agree with your assessment of Dusty. 

    • Anonymous

      i enjoyed this season of WOA very much and i am happy with the final 3. 

    • Anonymous

      Dusty often had time management issues and subsequent pangs of self-doubt.  This was the time he really needed to soldier through and instead he wasted a lot of time noodling with a different approach.  I think his time as a children’s art teacher did not prepare him for a competition like this.  I have no problem with him choosing a child for his subject, and the colorized photo that he stuck the candy on would have been a great entry in the Pop Art challenge.

      I did like the concept of this challenge – at last, a real art challenge where all the contestants were theoretically equal.

      I think Lola’s desperation over not immediately finding good subjects in Cold Springs, as well as her stunning lack of art talent, finally combined to get her eliminated.  Thanks to the gods.  It was always hard for me to believe a single word that came out of her mouth.  However, girl can sell herself.  We might see her on America’s Top Chef next, and after that Shear Genius.

      I really thought Young’s concept was brilliant.  The editing made it seem like he had way more time than the others in Cold Springs.  Then, after he finally found his guy, he had time to have his portrait painted.  Wow.  Anyway, I agree with others who have said that the way he presented his photography was puzzling.  Literally, like puzzle pieces.  Some of the individual strips looked intriguing in the close-ups, but slapping them on some boards strewn across the floor was just…weird.  Those crazy artists.

      Kymia’s painting had the most heart in it and she deserved to win. 

      Sara’s concept was great but it took a lot of explaining.  I think the stamped metal portrait set next to the photo would have been more effective, but I suppose the judges would have had a problem with that.

    • Anonymous

      China’s raincoat was hilarious.

    • Anonymous

      I live near there! Cold Spring is an artsy community so I guarantee that no one even blinked when these guys showed up. My son’s then-girlfriend was asked by Dusty to go into a store and buy him as many packs of Skittles (or was it M&Ms?) as she could get for $50. I haven’t seen the episode yet, so i don’t know if that scene made it onto the show, but for some reason, he was unable to go into the store to buy them himself.

    • Anonymous

      Kymia’s rocked!  good riddance to Lola.

    • Anonymous

      The right two went home, and I agree with everything thing you said this time, T Lo.  There was a little Bravo ad that you could get a copy of some of the artwork for $10 (I can’t remember if it applies to this challenge only or other episodes too), but there wasn’t anything I’d even pay $10 for.  Plus, I couldn’t remember most of the art even one or two episodes back.  That is the problem with WOA for me – unmemorable art made by not particularly talented artists.  And I’m not sure I’d even call Lola an artist.  She calls herself that because it sounds cool, but that doesn’t make her one. 

    • Lattis

      For someone (me) who’s watched Project Runway for years, and a fair number of other design related reality show competitions, you’d think I would be inoculated against the Lola character type. But, sadly, that schtick still gets under my skin. Although, to give credit where it’s deserved, she gave naked, aggressive, game-playing, head-gaming, sell-your-mother’s-soul competitiveness a unique whiny twist. 

      What puzzled me about her longevity on the show is that she did the same thing every challenge. Of all the contestants, she was the most inflexible in her overall creative process and manner of presentation. For someone who was intent on portraying herself as a sort of wild child, she was, oddly, the most rigid thinker in the group. 

    • Anonymous

      I was incredibly irritated by Jerry Salz’s commentary on this episode.  He claims (as near as I can tell given all the jargon he starts flinging around) that the other judges just didn’t have the capacity the innovative genius of Lola’s work.  That they couldn’t grasp the concept of the conceptual portrait!

      I think the other judges would have loved a “conceptual portrait.”  But a portrait, conceptual or otherwise, has to tell you something about the subject.  Basic portraits tell you what someone looks like.  Better portraits tell who the person is.  That’s where Kymia’s piece succeeded–she really captured the strange obsessive relationship that can exist between people and things.  Lola had the same opportunity–she was working with coin collectors.  But all she did was paste some money on a board.  They could have been bankers.  (And I find including writing in a conceptual piece to be a total cop out.  She can’t represent her idea, so she has to tell us what it is)

      A great portrait tells us so much about a person.  One of the greatest ever:  Sargent’s “Madam X”  Completely literal, but telling so much about the soul (or lack thereof) of the subject that she refused to accept the piece and demanded that her name be removed!

      Sara came close to succeeding.  She tried to represent this incredibly joyous man surround by danger. 

      Young had an interesting, though not fully realized idea about doing a portrait of someone painting his portrait. 

      Even Dusty match the subject, spirit of piece and medium in which he worked (though it was a bit obvious).

      But Lola?  Nothing to see there folks, move along….

      • Anonymous

        one of the greatest ever:  Sargent’s “Madam X”  Completely literal, but telling so much about the soul (or lack thereof) of the subject that she refused to accept the piece and demanded that her name be removed!

        Not so.  As Barbara Weinberg and Stephanie Hendrick point out in their monograph, John Singer Sargent in The Metropolitan Museum of Artin the standard form of the period, it appeared [at the 1884 Salon] as Portrait de Mme*** to protect the sitter’s identity.”  (Note that the painting was not a commission, but that Mme. Gautreau pose at Sargent’s request.

        In Albert Boime’s essay in the catalogue that accompanied the 1986-87 exhibitions at the Whitney and the Art Institute of Chicago, he notes that “Sargent and Mme. Gautreau clearly shared a similar concept about the final work” and that “the startling innovation of the pose had to have been arranged between them.

        It was the scandal that greeted “Sargent’s bold and daring experiment and the arrogant demeanor of Gautreau” (Boime again), caused also by what was seen as the “American takeover of French life”, that led the Gautreaus to request that Sargent remove the painting from the Salon, which he did not do.

        • Anonymous

          My bad.  I knew she had made a request for disassocation with the painting.  But my point remains–the painting said something about her which went beyond mere appearance to the point of causing the subject discomfort.  It says something about how a more “traditional” portrait can carry a great deal of power. 

    • Anonymous

      Project Runway has me too well trained to expect the low-talent-but-good-reality-tv-star to get through to the finale. I actually gasped when they said Sara J was into the final and had to rewind to listen again and make sure I heard it right. If Young somehow doesn’t end up just being handed the win (as opposed to earning it, which I’ll allow he could), I may have had my faith in reality tv restored.

      I am not sure this is a good thing.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t watch this week, but am soooooooooooooooo happy Lola is gone. Buh-bye beotch! Mean girls don’t always come in first!

    • Josephine R

      I’d like to see more of the Cold Springs artist Terence’s work. his portraits looked really really good! I said aloud to my TV, have him on next season, he’s better than any of these loozahs!

    • Anonymous

      Thank GOD Lola was sent packing. My dislike for her is strong enough I’m not sure I could have stomached the finale if she’d been a part of it. I will admit her subjects were interesting and I liked her interactions with them. Of course in the end she had to pour on the waterworks and make it all about her. Whatever. Bye-bye annoying girl.

      It’s unfortunate Young screwed up his presentation because if he had gotten it right I would have pegged him as the winner, though the judge’s ridiculous overpraising of him had left me cold. It was the first time his work impressed me. But, judge’s pet was headed to the finale no matter what.

    • Pashmina Velour

      Well, the right people went home and Simone said “Ar-kansas.” What more do you bitches want?

    • http://www.fatladysings.us/ TFLS

      Lola relies on her ‘pretty’ way too much.  For her it’s a ‘go by’.  At some point she’s gonna have to do more than flip her hair and take her clothes off.  I have to say I’ve no idea why they included her or Dusty with this seasons crop.  Neither’s work ever really hit home with me.  And Dusty really needs to get out of Arkansas more often.  So I’m happy with the finalists ‘as is’.  The preview of Kymia’s work looked interesting – that sculpture especially.  No idea who’ll win.  But I am glad Ms. Mean and Nasty has taken a hike. 

    • Anonymous

      “In a single afternoon, I began to see the beauty in our currency.”  That’s … er, priceless, Lola!  Anyway, I’ll miss her, she was the most fun to watch, and cute as hell — her art was making Jerry melt. 

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the recap. I watched the first 10 minutes then switched channels.

    • Anonymous

      Totally agree that Young’s final arrangement of the photographs was a huge disappoinment.  Even when the slats were lined up symmetrically it had far more power and I really thought he had something there.  It was still a good idea and a good piece, but could have been so much better.  As much as Lola was a “joy” to watch, they sent the right two packing.

    • http://profiles.google.com/grandiva1968 e jerry powell

      Is it wrong that I kind of want to have sex with Terence Donovan?

    • http://twitter.com/bredalot Bridget Smith

      Holy crap, was the little girl’s name ACTUALLY Mairead? That’s my sister’s name! There are like a dozen of them total in America. (I’m not counting the “Maurade” we met once, because WTF?)

    • Anonymous

      Kymia. It’s conventional, but with a slight twist. This is probably the most successful work that she has made in the course of the competition (and, I note, she didn’t use a projector or a print-out as the basis of her painting/drawing). The style of the work is not particularly original, but it is well executed and she selected the best subjects for her portrait (in this, I give her credit, since she did indeed select them). Congratulations to her.

      Young. This one is conceptually interesting – and much less sterile than has been the case with his work throughout the competition – but flawed in its execution. In his zeal to present it in an unusual way, he lost track of the impact of the idea itself. He became overly focused on the superficial aspects of its layout and creating something which would immediately command attention – perhaps this was too much of the curator in him. I, too, don’t believe for a second that the judges would have appreciated it if he had just given them a photograph of the portrait that Terence painted.

      Sara J. That hammered portrait is the kitschiest thing that has appeared on this show, first challenge inspiration pieces not withstanding – in fact kitschier than a number of those. The other half of the piece is more interesting and the combination of the two elevates it all somewhat, but I don’t think it was quite successful in the end. Again, though, it was interesting to see her work outside of her usual media.

      Dusty. He relied on the same technique – a very narrow technique – one too many times and failed to properly embrace the “happy accident” of the work falling apart. All in all, he seemed unable to capture the essence of a small town character that the judges were looking for – perhaps in this he was disadvantaged by being from a small town himself, inasmuch as that small town essence is itself mostly an artefact of metropolitan perspective.

      Lola. A conceptual portrait is not a new idea and can hardly be said to be much of a risk in that respect, so her failure in this – and she did fail in this, whatever Jerry’s belief to the contrary – cannot be attributed to that. Furthermore, once again she has gone with her shotgun approach of making a bunch of vaguely, or un-, related things, throwing them together in some arrangement, and hoping that the presence of so many disparate elements will make it seem complex and profound. In the end, she simply did not execute her concept as portrait in a way that illustrated the character of the people being portrayed. It fails as a portrait not because it is conceptual but because it fails to illustrate its concept.

    • Anonymous

      I want to comment on what you said and yet I agree so fully with everything that my comments amount to:

      Kymia and Sara rock (but I didn’t love either of their pieces)
      Dusty is a nice guy who is also from Arkansas and a father and zzzzzzzzzzzz
      Young actually had an interesting and non-obvious idea this time but he pooched the execution
      Lola is a pretentious jerkwad and I hope she is gone from my tv forever