Art exhibitions in Second Life come in all sizes – from those that are region-sized, through ensemble gallery complexes exhibiting work by multiple artists to small boutique-style galleries, either run by the artist or curated and offering a focused exhibition featuring the work of a single artist. Two exhibitions falling into this latter category are Ce Soir Arts, and VOIR Gallery. They are currently and respectively hosting modest exhibitions by Xanthe Firehawk and Storie’S Helendale (GlitterPrincess Destiny) which are both well worth taking the time to visit.
Mystical Spring at Ce Soir features nine images by Xanthe celebrating the arrival of spring. They range from pure landscape settings through to beautifully created avatar studies that richly capture the mysticism and romance we sometime embody within thoughts and images of spring.
The landscapes – La Pastorale de Printemps (“Spring Pastoral”) and Spring Awaking offer views rendered in both the soft colours and the rich blooms of spring; the latter very much the embodiment of nature bursting into a celebrating of the season, the former a little more subdued, and perhaps reflecting some of the religious / pagan connotations of spring through its title. These are mirrored by La Danse du Printemps (“Spring Dance”) and Mystic Downpour from across the other side of the gallery space.
However, and for me at least, the most striking part of this exhibition are the five studies facing the gallery entrance. These perfectly embody all of the mysticism and fantasy we weave into spring whilst also standing as marvellous examples of Xanthe’s art. Such is the strength (and size) of the central piece – The Awakening of Spring – in this quintet of pictures, it is easy to find the eye drawn away from the smaller pictures bordering it two to a side; but I do urge you to take the time to examine them in turn, as they are as equally rich in narrative and symbolism – the unicorn, the font, the white stag – and again stunningly rendered.
Solitary Moments, on display at VOIR gallery, presents a series of self-studies by Storie’S, offered in both colour and black-and-white. The Advanced lighting Model (ALM) should be enabled within the viewer prior to viewing (Preferences > Graphics) and local Windlight set to that recommended at the gallery entrance or – if you don’t have the specific Windlight – set your time of day to Midnight.
The images themselves range in tone and approach; while nudity is limited, it is perhaps best to consider them as being close to NSFW. As the title of the exhibition suggest, the pictures reflect moments caught in the time when one might be alone with one’s own thoughts.
What these thoughts might be is part of the allure of the pictures; they invite us to study them and weave a mood and vignette around them. With one or two – such as Suspect Red – there is a suggestion of being caught unawares whilst lost in thought: the hand extended toward the camera perhaps in an effort to prevent the picture being captured. Meanwhile, Not Extinguished appears to suggest a certain pensiveness on the part of the subject – the cigarette, the way one arm is crossed over / holding the other… All of the images are further nuanced by their very titles, some of which invite more than one interpretation – again, Not Extinguished being a case in point.
All told, two very different, but equally engaging, exhibitions.