Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'The Barracks' by Nate Duval

'The Barracks' by Nate Duval is my fourth poster purchase from the DCAAPB Lost ARG.

I've been with this ARG from the time it was first announced at this year's Comic-Con. I've been online at every poster reveal. My initial approach was quite simple -- I would wait for a print which I loved, then buy it. Initially this approach worked very well. I passed on the first few posters, picked up 'The Crash', passed on the next two, picked up 'The Smoke Monster', passed on another, then bought 'Rousseau's Transmission'. No problem. I was even within the first 25 orders for all three prints. However, word of the ARG spread quickly once posters by "big-name" artists like Dan McCarthy started to appear. Posters began to sell more quickly, on the order of a few minutes rather than hours or even days as had been the case for earlier prints. After Rousseau, the next poster I loved was 'Jacob's Cabin' by Daniel Danger. It was the first poster I wanted but was unable to purchase due to its popularity.

'The Barracks' was revealed the following week. My first impression of the print was 'meh'. I liked the colours but found the scene a little bland and didn't initially appreciate the "naive" ("My 6 six-year old can draw better than this!") style used to the draw the house. However, I did warm to the print in the minutes that passed as I waited for the BUY NOW button to appear. I also became filled with the desire to prove that I could still successfully purchase despite the setbacks of the previous week. I decided that I would try for the print. When it was finally available for purchase I struggled through the 5 screens, met at every turn with database and server errors as well as extremely slow response times from the site. Fortunately (and somewhat amazingly) I was able to get my purchase through.

To my taste, this print falls somewhere in the middle of the pack of the fifteen revealed so far. I still very much like the colour of the sky and the forested hills, and I like the lighting effects on the trees and clouds. It seems to me that the artist is trying to contrast the lush, complex Island with the simplistic, flimsy structures put up by the Dharma Initiative. Even the lawn in front of the house, which presumably was seeded by the DI, looks more like astro-turf than real grass. I feel that the technique used creates a similar feeling to that of the Barracks reveal in Season 3 where the rows of brightly-coloured 1950's-style bungalows created a surreal and almost comical juxtaposition with the vast, dark surroundings. I also find that the print raises a sense of tension and unease, probably from the patterns of light and shadow on the trees, the way the hills tower over the home, and the wisps of smoke from the 815 crash just beginning to drift up and over the tree tops.

Aside from my appreciation of the art, I also like this print because it represents Season 3 of Lost which was my entry point to the series. If I recall correctly, it was the buzz around the Season 3 finale that finally brought me in. Also, the barracks are certainly one of the most-used Island locations in seasons 3, 4, and 5. Given that this poster series has leaned toward moments from earlier seasons of Lost, it is good to have a print which covers the later seasons. Finally, at the time of purchase neither Ben nor Juliet (two of my favs) were represented, and to me the barracks brings forward memories of both.

For this print I returned to a simpler framing solution -- a basic black poster frame from Michael's, although one with a wider border to try to de-emphasize the extra-wide white border on the print itself. Here is the result:

My print number is #219/300.

Here are a few closeups of Nate Duval's 'The Barracks'.

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