Now open at LEA 4 is Seasons of Life by John (Johannes1977 Resident), a Second Life photographer who has been rightfully gaining a respected reputation in-world for his photographic studies, which straddle the virtual and the physical worlds. As a serving member of the US Marines, for example, he shot a series of photographs showing military life whilst on deployment to Afghanistan, and these were recently featured in an exhibition at The Rose Gallery, Angel Manor.
Seasons Of Life is focused squarely on John’s work as an in-world artist, and is his first exhibition at the LEA. In his words, it represents “a person’s life cycle combined with the scientific seasons of the Earth”.
It sees the region, which is largely flooded at ground level, divided into five areas. Four of these are devoted to the four seasons – Winter, Spring Summer and Autumn, each presided over by portraits of its Guardian, as modelled by Draakje Dailey (Spring), Eleseren Brianna (Summer), Emma Portilo (Winter) and Issy Flatley (Autumn). The fifth area is given over to the Guardian of the Night, modelled by Seashell Dench.
The portraits are individually and collectively fascinating, presented in a variety of styles which offer strong contrasts to one another, while at the same time complimenting their individual seasonal theme,
For example, the Winter Guardian is presented in two monochrome / grey-scale images, providing a subtle emphasis of the cold grip winters holds. However, where one has a bold, charcoal-like thrust to it, the other offers a more gentle, light-handed pencil feel to it. Thus they contrast with one another while at the same time complementing the scene they present – the stark boldness of the darker image emphasising the Guardian’s power as she towers over the landscape, arms raised and outstretched as if in invocation.
Similarly, Autumn uses a more painting-like finish to each of the images (both watercolour and oil), allowing colours to be over-emphasised, echoing the rich natural hues of nature at that time of the year.
Clever use is also made of animated gifs in places which again adds depth to the images concerned. The Guardians seem to shimmer into existence as you cam onto the portraits, for example, while in an Autumn images, the waters are the Guardian’s feet ripples gently. The animations can take a number of seconds to fully work given the rain, show and lightning effects in the installation, but the end result is certainly eye-catching.
All told, an intriguing installation which will be open through until the end of October, I believe – but do take care when walking around. Step off the walkways, and you might find the water a tad bit deeper in some places than in others 🙂 .
- Seasons of Life (Rated: Moderate)