Shorelines and Solitudes in Second Life

Holly Kai Art Garden - Shorelines and Solitudes
Holly Kai Art Garden – Shorelines and Solitudes

Currently open at Holly Garden Art Garden is a joint exhibition by Derry McMahon and Bear Silvershade.

Shorelines and Solitudes presented on the Art Terraces in Holly Kai Garden, features the contrasting but complimentary styles of Derry and Bear. For her Down the Shore Everything’s All Right exhibit, Derry presents a series of colour images of shorelines and coastal scenes. Bear, meanwhile, offers some more of his stunning monochrome images under the title Solitudes.

“When I began work on this exhibit, it was cold dark winter,” Derry says of her exhibit. “I wanted very much to be at my happy place – by the water; but there were snow storms and flooding and other nasty weather events. Second Life gave me the answer. Plenty of lovely warm pretty beaches to photograph.  As Bruce says in his Jersey Girl song:  …down the shore everything’s all right…   It’s true!   I hope you enjoy!”

Shorelines and solitude: Derry McMahon
Holy Kai Garden – Shorelines and solitude: Derry McMahon

Derry started in Second Life in 2007, initially working as an event coordinator and DJ at the West of Ireland. In 2008, she founded, as librarian and storyteller, the West of Ireland Library, which is today known as Seanchai Library. More recently, she retired from the Library and started to focus on her creativity as a photographer, exploring this virtual world with camera in hand, working hard to develop her skills and create expressive images that revel in the interplay of colour, light and form, and now tells her stories via images instead of words.

The images selected for the Holly Kai Garden exhibit offer us a tour of the shorelines and waterfronts of many picturesque regions in Second Life, each of them demonstrating Derry’s eye for detail and rich in her love of vibrant colour. each really does tell its own story – although I confess, I was very drawn into Seagull Seats, which had me contemplating who might have strolled along the pier under the gaze of the seagull, or sat in the seats to be found along it and what their thoughts might have been…

Holly Kai Garden: Shorelines and Solitudes - Derry McMahon
Holly Kai Garden: Shorelines and Solitudes – Derry McMahon

“Jean-Paul Sarte one said, ‘if you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’re in bad company’, and loneliness and solitude are two different sides of the same coin, with isolation being their common thread.” Bear notes in introducing his exhibit. “But while loneliness brings wretched feelings of estrangement and something missing. Solitude, though, is a chance to explore our inner selves,  our passions, or just enjoy the tranquillity of union with the universe.”

A photojournalist by profession , Bear discovered Second Life by chance towards the end of 2010 after what he refers to as “getting twitchy three days into a ‘relaxing’ vacation. Enthralled by a world by a world where there is no limit to creativity and imagination, he has taken the traditional tools of the landscape photographer and uses them to abstract the line and form of Second Life, distilling its complexity into elegant, evocative imagery.

Holly Kai Garden: Shorelines and Solitudes - Bear Silvershade
Holly Kai Garden: Shorelines and Solitudes – Bear Silvershade

I confess that I’ve always had a deep admiration for Bear’s work. His monochrome images are, to me, some of the most emotive art I’ve witnessed in Second Life, the imagery always matched by a powerful and appropriate title, such as evidenced with his Lonely Man series – and now with Solitudes.

Each of the images Bear has selected for Holly Kai Garden offers a rich, layered narrative which contrast yet complements the monochrome approach taken to it. The framing of each piece is exquisite to the point where it is impossible to remain simply an observer; one becomes a part of the story being told, a witness to the private thoughts of the sole subject (Bear himself) who appears in some of the pictures.

Holly Kai Garden: Shorelines and Solitudes - Bear Silvershade
Holly Kai Garden: Shorelines and Solitudes – Bear Silvershade

Together, Down the Shore Everything’s All Right and Solitudes are a perfect pairing of styles and images, and it is an absolute delight to have Derry and Bear exhibiting Shorelines and Solitudes as the second Art at the Garden series at Holly Kai Park through until Tuesday, April 5th.

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