Avatars as art

Femme by Sabbian Paine - Holtwaye ArtSpace
Femme by Sabbian Paine – Holtwaye ArtSpace

Open now at Holtwaye ArtSpace are two exhibitions of art which focus on avatars.

The first, Femme, features a series of eight images by Sabbian Paine, located on in the north wing of the gallery’s ground level building.

While small in number, the images displayed are highly individual and both graphically and narratively powerful in content.

Femme by Sabbian Paine - Holtwaye ArtSpace
Femme by Sabbian Paine – Holtwaye ArtSpace

Take Swan Lake as an example (the leftmost picture in the trio at the top of this article). Here is a piece of masterful execution as the poise and elegance of the woman, the fall of her gown, the arms of her arms, presents an image strongly evocative of  the stately appearance of a swan. At the same time, the black gas mask encasing her head adds a subtle twist to the image, removing her identity from view in what may seem an oppressive or menacing way whilst simultaneously enhancing her swan-like looks. Thus there is a subtle enfolding of elements here: the direct comparison with a swan, the hinting at the classic ballet and the idea of hidden secrets.

Each of the pieces offers a narrative of its own, making this a small, but highly engaging exhibit in which you may well find yourself spending far more time studying each piece than you might otherwise have expected.

JJ Goodman - Holtwaye ArtSpace
JJ Goodman – Holtwaye ArtSpace

Located in the skyborne gallery space (reached via the teleport sign outside of the ground level complex) is a relatively new (having opened on March 28th) exhibition of images by JJ Goodman.

On display are eighteen images, the majority of which are once again focused on avatars (although one or two are broader in nature).

JJ Goodman - Holtwaye ArtSpace
JJ Goodman – Holtwaye ArtSpace

Here the focus is very much on avatars going about their lives, be it a man bathing in a pool, participants in a carnival, a group of guys dancing at a 50s-style diner, and so on. Many of the images have a vibrancy both in colour and composition which give them a unique feeling of “living”. Others are beautifully posed, lit and shot as to evoke a story of their own.

In this there is something marvellously engaging in the juxtaposition of various styles displayed within the images displayed here, with the likes of Chess Girl, Duncan, and Coop’s Serenity offering that rich depth of narrative which draws one into each of the pictures – and particularly in the case of pieces like Coop’s Serenity, directly into the subject’s eyes -, which beautifully contrasts with pieces like 50’s Guys and Candy Girls, where the story is painted more in the picture as a whole, and the richness of the colours within it.

JJ Goodman - Holtwaye ArtSpace
JJ Goodman – Holtwaye ArtSpace

Taken together, these two exhibition present two fascinating and very different studies into avatars as art, and both are recommended visits.

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Something for the petrol heads

Museum of The History of the Vehicle - LEA 2
Museum of The History of the Vehicle – LEA 2

For those with a passion for trucks, vans, motorbikes, motor racing and – most of all – cars, there are a couple of events going on in SL that might interest you.

The first, The History of the Vehicle, is taking place at LEA 2. Billed as being six months in the making, the exhibit is curated by Sapphire  Hotaling as a celebration of wheeled vehicles in Second Life from 2005 through to the present day, with some 130+ individual vehicles from almost 50 designers and creators on display,

Museum of The History of the Vehicle - LEA 2
The History of the Vehicle – LEA 2

With the exception of the main building, located on the north side of the region, and a large display area to the east, the majority of the museum space is open air, with various display areas clearly marked and reached via footpaths, and a landscaped park extending to the south and west of the region, linking the main vehicle displays with a memorial to vehicle racers and designers who have passed away, and a stage area which will host live events at the weekends throughout the time the exhibit is open – check the display boards within the exhibit for details.

There’s no set route for exploring the region – just go where your feet / the footpaths take you. Individual display areas are clearly enough marked, and while nothing is for sale within the region, there are plenty of note card / LM givers to the in-world and SLM stores for the designers displaying their latest wares.

Museum of The History of the Vehicle - LEA 2
The History of the Vehicle – LEA 2

The displays are interesting enough, and some do indeed give a feel for how vehicles have visually evolved over the years; however, I have to confess that I toured the exhibit unable to shake the feeling it’s more car show that historical piece. Outside of the “Evolution” exhibit, there is precious little information chart the actual history of vehicle development in SL – the evolution of scripting, capabilities, etc., which to me is a bit of a shame, although I fully understand that putting something together like that isn’t necessarily easy – not everyone is interested in scripting evolution, etc.

Even so the range of vehicles on display is impressive, and the park like layout helps to make the exhibit feel less crowded, vehicle-wise, even allowing from the large east side display area; once you step off of the main path and onto the grass with its wooden walks, it’s easy to relax and find a place to sit a while.

All told, History of the Vehicle makes for a visual treat for car and vehicle fans.

Continue reading “Something for the petrol heads”