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Watching this episode, it was fascinating to observe the dramatically different group dynamics between the two teams that were chosen at random. First of all, in both teams one contestant automatically took the lead. Although he's nearly the youngest out of all contestants, Miles had already assumed a kind of leadership over the initial group of 14. Therefore I was not surprised to see him immediately calling the shots in his group. I was pleasantly surprised to see in what charming, but yet decisive manner Nicole assumed the leadership role in her group. On my studio visit it was difficult to pick up on the different group dynamics which were so evident while viewing the episode. I was once more impressed by Miles's practical skills and his ability to pull off building a relatively complex structure in a very short amount of time.
Initially I would have bet that Miles's group was going to win. While I liked the main shape of the other group's sculpture, I didn't think that some of the tiny shapes around it worked, especially in the context of a open, public space. I am certain that the very tense group dynamics evident in Miles's group ultimately led to their loss as a team, and Erik's departure from the show. However Erik cannot be solely blamed for the appalling lack of team spirit in his group. The leader of a group is ultimately responsible for the morale in his team, so Miles shares responsibility for their loss. Ryan, Abdi and Mark's egos did not get in the way in working closely with Nicole to implement a project that bore her handwriting.
I found this episode and the group interaction fascinating to watch. I was happy to have met Erik, who did not have any of the rough edges evident watching him in the program. He showed that even without any formal training and previous knowledge of the art world, his desire to be an artist was sincere.
It was great to have Yvonne Force Villareal as the guest judge of this episode. She is one of the 'grandes dames' of the art world. Todd Eberle, the top photographer and close friend of hers, has been photographing her for years in the most varied circumstances. It is to be hoped that a book and or exhibition devoted solely to that work will be done. With three more episodes before the grand finale of Work of Art, things are clearly heating up! I obviously know the outcome of each episode in advance, so I am surprised that I find each episode entertaining and fun to watch. (And this despite having the shortest attention span in history of mankind!)