Longing and Grief in Second Life

Faces of Longing and Grief - Dathúil gallery
Faces of Longing and Grief – Dathúil Gallery

Opening on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 at Dathúil Gallery, owned by Max Butoh and curated by Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd), is a new exhibition by Maloe Vansant, entitled Faces of Longing and Grief.

As the title suggests, this is a series of studies of the human face – mostly female (Maloe herself, I believe), although Maloe’s partner, Burk Bode, is also featured – in which the focus is very much on the emotions either displayed within the subject’s expression, or conveyed by the pose itself.

Faces of Longing and Grief - Dathúil gallery
Faces of Longing and Grief – Dathúil Gallery

Maloe uses quotes to describe the exhibit, of which a short extract from Barnacle Love, by Canadian novelist Anthony De Sa is perhaps the most informative:

The Portuguese call it saudade: a longing for something so indefinite as to be indefinable. Love affairs, miseries of life, the way things were, people already dead, those who left and the ocean that tossed them on the shores of a different land — all things born of the soul that can only be felt.

And indeed, there is a longing and a sense of sadness, a hint of grieving, an echo of death to be seen as one wanders through Dathúil’s hall and examines each of this large format images in turn. But to think of this as a “dark” or “depressing” exhibition would be a mistake.

Faces of Longing and Grief - Dathúil gallery
Faces of Longing and Grief – Dathúil Gallery

There is a raw, emotive power to each of these images – either within it, or in the response the observer has to it, or both. It is very hard, for example, not to imagine learning into one and kissing the worries of the subject away and giving a loving reassurance, or taking the hand of another in comfort  and offering to share the burden of sadness.

The use of colour and of black and white in the images is equally striking in how they bring the emotions of an individual piece to the fore and regulate the observer’s response. A series of four full-colour images on one wall (seen above), for example, tend to evoke a very strong – dare I say “louder” – emotional response when compared to the black-and-white studies, where the emotional content is perhaps more constrained within the image itself, and our own response is similarly toned down by the more monochromatic presentation.

Some of the images balance the use of the colour against a more monochrome look –  as with A touch of Melancholy and Just Want to Blend In (seen below), for example. The result is something of a different texture and feel to the emotion / feeling s captured within the image and in one’s own response. I admit to becoming quite captivated by these two pieces in particular.

Faces of Longing and Grief - Dathúil gallery
Faces of Longing and Grief – Dathúil Gallery

All of which is a long way of saying that these are studies where it is next to impossible to not yourself feel emotionally involved. The story behind each image may not be clear, but the desire to offer comfort, support, love, companionship is unavoidable.

This is yet another outstanding exhibition of an artist’s work which further enhances Dathúil’s reputation as one of the leading galleries in Second Life. Lucy is to be commended for arranging Maloe’s exhibit, and Maloe herself congratulated in bringing together images to present such a powerful and emotive subject.

Faces of Longing and Grief - Dathúil gallery
Faces of Longing and Grief – Dathúil Gallery

Faces of Longing and Grief formally opens at 13:00 SLT on Wednesday, September 2nd, and will remain open through until September 30th, 2015. You can also find more of Maloe’s work on her Flickr stream.

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