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Poles Position

Bill talks Nicole's talking head piece, Jaclyn's body-concious work, and Mark's promise as a commercial photographer.


To represent order Nicole built a talking head and the funny thing is that her contraption kept breaking down whenever someone tried to activate it. She said her impetus was the restrictions of the social contract, but I think what some people read as shoddy construction on her part actually made it ten times better than if the piece had operated smoothly. Nicole's rubber band man got me thinking about Bruce Nauman's "Hanging Heads" and how the consistency of our daily lives always runs on a thread, a synapse, a spark we take for granted. And while the black hole in Abdi's painting was poorly rendered, his subject matter, "The Allegory of the Cave," leaves us so much to contemplate when presented in the Bravo television forum. Plato talks about prisoners inside this cave being chained to a wall and only getting glimmers of reality from the shadowy figures they see cast upon the rocks, until they are free to witness the true forms existing in the outside world. I love the crossover concepts with reality TV present in Nicole and Abdi's coupling. Watching the episode, I liked "Order and Chaos" better than "Male and Female." My thanks to Ryan McGinness for pushing Abdi to ask himself the tough questions when he felt lost about the direction his work should go.

To be fair to Jaclyn, the only instances she has done well on the show is when she's been willing to make body-conscious work, so I don't think any of the judges can fault her for disrobing at this point. Also, for a painting depicting a woman mid-masturbation it was pretty unsexy, which definitely helped the piece. I felt a spirit of coercion in her pose, the way she covered her breasts and hid her face, that overall lent it more agony than ecstasy.

Maybe it wasn't fair to eliminate Mark after Peregrine nudged him into creating a narrative around his stomach scar, but – come on - his take on heaven looked like a bad ad for a day spa. Clearly China had a hard time sending him home and I think as a commercial photographer Mark shows some real promise. His portrait of Erik from the first challenge remains his best work from the series.

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