“Behind the Curtain,” Daze Landar (DaisyDaze) says of her exhibition now open at Dathúil Gallery, “is the beginning of my exploration of who we are in the spotlight and out. The circus without a doubt is a great metaphor for life; the big show under a massive tent. The greatest show on earth!”
The exhibition is the first Daze has presented built around a specific theme, although as hinted by her introductory comments, the theme isn’t what one might first expect. While our eyes are immediately drawn to the huge image of a big top, and several of the images (all of which variously feature Daze, her partner Owen lander, and Elizabeth Nantes, Dathúil’s Lucy Diamond, Syn (Beresford) Zane and Keane Addison as models) involve circus flavours and motifs, this isn’t a riff on circus themes. It’s an exhibition about us: how we project ourselves to the world at large, and who we are “behind the curtain” of those projections, either when on our own or with those with whom we are close.
In this, the metaphor of the circus – all bright colours, loud noises, laughter, excitement and greasepaint – works excellently, allowing a range of ideas to be conveyed. Take Troupe (seen above), for example. With its quartet of circus musicians, apparently having a raucous time, it conveys the idea of our public self we tend to project when out and about with friends: loud, happy-go-lucky, fun, good to have around. But look a little more closely; none of the four appears to actually be playing their instrument; a subtle reflection, perhaps, that the outward projection of brashness is far removed from the inner person?
Then there is Strong Shoulders (top of this article). At first it would appear to be a study of a strong man act; the girl hoisted aloft with ease and sat upon a broad shoulder. But so too is it a metaphor of our reliance on those close to us and of their ability to lift us, through words and encouragement, supporting and nurturing us. Trust (which may suggest both escapology and adult bedroom activities!), more overtly carries a similar theme; whilst Hiding Spot and Break Time (below) convey those situations where we feel secure enough to let the masks slip away and just be ourselves.
In many respects, Behind the Curtain only scratches the surface of this captivating subject. Daze refers to it as a “beginning” – suggesting she is considering more works along similar lines. I certainly hope so, not just because it is a fascinating subject, but it is also something which lies very much very much at the heart of environments like Second Life, and the abilities we have herein to both project – and more importantly, to shed – our masks and remove the metaphorical greasepaint.
In the meantime, Behind the Curtain will remain open through until the end of August 2016.
- Dathúil Gallery (Rated: Adult)