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The Secret of Life is in Art: An Advance Review of Bravo's Work of Art

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” - Leonardo Da Vinci

I'll admit that my expectations for Bravo's newest reality competition series Work of Art were painfully low. After all, this seems just just the sort of series for which you can easily make a snide remark about it being less exciting than watching paint dry.

But I have to say that I was extremely pleasantly surprised by Work of Art, which premieres tonight. Not only was it fast-paced and exciting, but it was slickly produced, thanks in part to the crack team at Magical Elves, which has once again worked its reality magic on this format.

Art isn't the most accessible of topics, yet the show--which is hosted by China Chow--is just that: tearing away the sort of potential pretentiousness of its subject by allowing the audience to enter the minds of some gifted artists--each coming from different media--and participate in the artistic process.

The result is a fun and engaging hour that's overflowing with quirky and memorable contestants, several of whom seem to have forgotten that they're on camera and shouldn't be making biting remarks that will come back to haunt them later on when the judges turn up and harshly criticize their own work.

But while there's definitely enough drama here to pique the attention of Project Runway or Top Chef fans, there's also something exciting about the format as well, which sees the artists get a different assignment each week. In the series premiere, it's to compose a portrait of a randomly-assigned fellow contestant, in which they must not only capture the exterior likeness of their subject but also the ethereal internal elements of what make them unique.

While other series may have had all of the contestants compose realistic portraiture paintings, Work of Art revels in the individuality of the artists in its midst, allowing them to use what ever medium they deem to be fitting. Which means that the audience gets to see examples of abstract painting, three-dimensional installation, silkscreening, photography, and more.

Ultimately, I'm on board for the season, if the premiere episode is any indication of just where the competition is heading. There are some supremely talented individuals in the mix (and a few that left me scratching my head) whose progress I'm excited to follow over the course of the season. It's the rare series that can take us inside the artist's mind but Work of Art manages to do just that... and makes it a thrilling place to be, to boot.

Work of Art premieres tonight at 11 pm ET/PT on Bravo.


Vera said…
I thought this sounded pretty lame but, after reading your review, I'm intrigued. I'll at least check out the first episode!
Tonya Ricucci said…
I thought the premiere was really enjoyable and liked how each artist was able to choose their own medium. I just hope they don't make them do group challenges - I always hate those on PR and TC. And at least chefs DO work together in the kitchen, which isn't the same thing at all for artists.

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