Silas Merlin at Visions of Beauty in Second Life

Silas Merlin - Visions of Beauty Gallery
Silas Merlin at Visions of Beauty Gallery

Open now at the Visions of Beauty gallery, curated by dj12 Magic, is an exhibition of almost entirely new works by Maître Pastelliste (Master of Pastels), Silas Merlin, aka artist Jean-François Le Saint.

I make no apologies in being completely smitten by Silas’ work; I was hooked the first time I saw it at Gallery 24 in January 2016, and I’m still deeply pleased Silas came to Holly Kai Garden to exhibit his work there as well. For those unfamiliar with his work, the exhibition at Vision of Beauty could be no finer introduction. It features 18 pastel portraits and studies, and presents a number of Silas’ mesh sculptures – mesh being a medium he has recently moved into as a means of presenting 2D art through the 3D medium.

Silas Merlin - Visions of Beauty Gallery
Silas Merlin at Visions of Beauty Gallery

The pastel images are in a number of different sizes, allowing the visitor to see their rich, layered complexity – and appreciate why pastels are such an ideal medium for portraiture; in my opinion outshining both water and oil for the life-line tone and feel they give to the subject being studied.

Silas’ work very much focuses on children, generally those in period dress and attending traditional or medieval festivals in Brittany, and this exhibition again demonstrates this. Created from the hundreds of photos he takes while attending the events himself, Silas has brought together a select of pieces which very much put us at the heart of such a gathering, surrounded by children in period dress, some sitting earnestly, others at play or participating in a traditional dance, while others simply sit and talk or laugh together.

Silas Merlin: Dancer at the Barre - Visions of Beauty Gallery
Silas Merlin: Dancer at the Barre at Visions of Beauty Gallery

The floorspace of the room is broken up by a set of Silas’ mesh sculptures, some of which are taken from his own studies, including Mock Fight, which made its debut appearance at Holly Kai Park.

However, of the sculptures on display, there is little doubt that Dancer at the Barre, located at the foot of the spiral staircase leading up to another gallery area, is the most striking.

A stunning 3D interpretation of the painting of the same name by Edgar Degas, Dancer at the Barre has beautifully captured Degas’ own unite style, his appreciation of his subject, the tone and colour of the original. In short the very essence of the original is marvellously raised in 3D.

Producing 3D versions of art is something that has long fascinated Silas; he’s previously voiced a desire to be able to produce such pieces, particularly with his own art, which he might then produce in the physical world via 3D printing. More recently, in discussing the idea, he’s suggested part of the fascination is to be able to see  – or at least imagine – what lies behind / beyond the core subject of a work of art, and present that as a part of a 3D piece.

Silas Merlin - Visions of Beauty Gallery
Silas Merlin at Visions of Beauty Gallery

For my part, I can say it has been a privilege and delight to see Silas realise this move into 3D art, and to witness his ideas for the medium evolve. I certainly look forward to seeing more of both his 2D and 3D work – and do genuinely encourage you to visit his exhibitions in-world, perhaps starting with this one, and to visit his studio space, should you wish to see more

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Benefit for Bri in Second Life

Starlight-Benefit-Poster-02
Benefit for Bri at the Starlight Ballroom, May 14th-31st, 2016

Commencing on Saturday, May 14th and running through until the end of the month is Benefit for Bri, a fund-raiser being held at the Starlight Ballroom to help the daughter of Second Life resident, artist and photographer, Tomais Ashdene.

Bri is currently studying at Purdue University, Indiana, to become a teacher, and is doing well. However, due to corporate downsizing, her family have hit some financial issues. So, to ease the burden on them of paying tuition fees, Bri launched a Go Fund Me campaign to raise the money she needs to continue with her education and obtain her qualifications.

Benefit for Bri has been organised by those close to Tomais, notably RickJ Ewing andr Kahvy Smith, to help raise funds to be put into the Go Fund Me campaign. The  shopping event featuring Consignment, Ex Machina, StoraxTree, Blue Balls, Powerdesgin, Fix Auto, Atelier by Stephano, Yer Old Gacha, Ohiomike’s Kilts, Lilliput for Tinies, Rosa Fashion, The Grey Goose, RickJ Designs, Sophie’s Choice, L.Querrien, Cake Fox, Photography by Tomais, Regimade, and Lazy Day Designs.

There will also be a benefit gala on Saturday, May 21st, featuring from 13:00 SLT, Samm Qendra, followed at 14:00 SLR by Reallymad Morpork, with DJ Kahvy spinning the tunes as well. Formal attire is requested, and the event is powered by JJ Goodman Event Photography.

Samm Qendra and Reallymad Morpork: singing at the Benefit for Bri gala, Saturday, May 21st
Samm Qendra and Reallymad Morpork: singing at the Benefit for Bri gala, Saturday, May 21st

Commenting on the event, the organisers  state:

Bri is an amazing young woman who found herself in a bit of a problematic financial situation as she is working hard to become part of the next generation of amazing teachers to our kids. All proceeds of this Benefit will go towards her Go Fund me Page after converting the lindens into USD and will be published there after the event.

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SL project updates 16 19/2: server, viewer, Bento Agni deployment

Rosemoor; Inara Pey, May 2016, on FlickrRosemoorblog post

Server Deployments Week #19 – Recap

The RC server maintenance package deployment planned for Wednesday, May 11th was postponed as a result of the 3-day Aditi outage delaying testing. The update, which comprises minor internal improvements which present no visible functional changes to Second Life, will now most likely go ahead until week #20 (week commencing Monday, May 16th.

Viewer Updates

The Quick Graphics RC viewer updated to version 4.0.5.315117 on Wednesday, May 11th, brining it to code parity with the current release viewer. Providing no major issues are uncovered, this might be the last RC update for this viewer prior to its promotion as the de facto release viewer.

Project Bento

As noted above, the Project Bento meeting was severely disrupted by continuing Aditi issues, which left people unable to reach the meeting either via direct log-in or via teleport.  As Vir Linden was also unavailable (due to an unrelated matter), Troy Linden steered the meeting, fighting against a slowly deteriorating region condition.

A pile-on test had been planned for immediately after the meeting with the intention of stress testing a region with a large number of animated Bento avatars all with active animations. The test was to have been an internal Lab test, but members of the Bento user group were invited to join-in as well if they wished. Unfortunately, the continuing poor Aditi performance force the test to be postponed.

Agni Test Release Deployment

Allowing for things like stress testing and unforeseen issues, the plan is for a test release of Bento on Agni (the Main grid) to be made during week #21 (week commencing Monday, May 23rd).

The release will be the current server-side support for Bento, plus the project viewer. It has not as yet been decided to make the deployment grid-wide, or restrict it to an RC channel  / dedicated channel.

The deployment is to gain a broader audience testing Bento assets and content and using the viewer. This does mean that if you wish to see or try Bento content, you will have to be using either the Bento project viewer, or a TPV which has the Bento updates.

Continuing voice issues rendered recording the meeting impractical, so hopefully normal reporting will resume  next week.