We received news on two new exhibitions featuring portraiture and avatar studies that have recently opened in Second Life. The first is at the Surreal Gallery, featuring the work of Lily Summerwind (LiliMango), and the second features the work of Maddy (Magda Schmidtzau) on display at the Melania Art Gallery.
Simply Lily opened on April 23rd and runs until June 23rd at the Blue Room at Surreal Gallery is the smaller of the two exhibits, offering fourteen images by Llily Summerwind. Given the title of the exhibition, the majority of the pieces are self-portraits, which are striking in their use of poses to convey a story or mood.
Self-portraiture is a form of photography which tends to engage me peripherally; while I can appreciate the artistry that is involved, often times the fact that the pictures are posed and stand as self-studies, rather than carrying a narrative tends to leave me distanced from the subject matter. However, I found myself drawn to number of the images presented in this exhibit, and for numerous reasons.
The first is that narrative is clearly evident in a number, with several offering a sense of anticipation / promise which draws one into them, wanting not so much to discover the narrative as be a part of it –Shhhh being a case in point. Then there is the use of colour, shading, light and shadow, all of which are quite extraordinary.
In terms of colour and shading, everything from powerful monochrome (again, witnessed in Shhhh) through a joyous richness of colour demonstrated in the likes of Rainbow Bright or the balance of colour and lighting which is so powerfully used in Geisha. The skilled use of contrast is also presented, through pieces like Me and My Shadow, Spring Flower and The Butterfly Effect.
Maddy is the larger of the two exhibits, presenting around 40 images by Maddy on display at both indoor and outdoor spaces at the Melania Gallery, making full use of what is a charming setting, complete with canal, gallery buildings, a bar and canal-side walks built by Terrygold.
Once again there is a richness of style and approach to the pieces on offer, with a broad mix of subject matter, albeit again with a focus on avatar portraiture. In particular, sitting within the indoor spaces are a series of surreal / collage pieces which are especially eye-catching (see above). Colour is once again used to great effect, with a studied use of depth of field present in some images as well.
Many of the pieces are untitled, making it somewhat difficult to draw attention to specific pieces on offer, which is a shame, as show really are deserving of recognition, such as the fantasy piece sitting alongside the landing point (and which is to the right of the image headlining this article), together with the aforementioned surreal pieces. There also appears to be some grouping of pictures thematically between the various exhibition areas – although this could equally just be the way I looked at things.
However, this does underline a small problem with this exhibition: there are perhaps too many pieces on display. Sometimes, less is more and such is the volume of work on display, it can be a little overwhelming as one wanders through the exhibition spaces. That said, the pieces on offer are undoubtedly striking, and very much worth viewing,