Barbara and Cherry at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Barbara Borromeo

Currently open at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante are two exhibitions, both of which run through until August 16th. The first features Barbara Borromeo and the second, Cherry Manga.

Barbara Borromeo is an artist whose work – much to my shame – was unknown to me until June of 2018, when I gained an introduction to her work. The exhibition at La Maison d’Aneli follows on the heels of that event, and actually contains a number of pieces that were also featured in it as well. However, that there is some repetition doesn’t matter: Barbara’s work is simply extraordinary, and at La Maison, we are additionally treated to more of her physical world art as well.

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Barbara Borromeo

Several pieces are presented around the walls of the gallery, of which I found myself particularly drawn to Woodstock Hendrix (seen at the top of this article, on the left), and Words Never Said, two remarkable studies full of visual and emotional impact among a tour de force of stunning art that really captures the eye, heart and imagination.

However, it is the main slide show element of the exhibition that really captivates. Using a large screen, Barbara presents a rich cross-section of her portfolio – and it is not to be missed. Photographs and paintings from the physical world are displayed along with images captured from Second Life and – in what makes Barbara’s work fabulous to the eye – collage pieces that appear to combine both Second Life (or at least digital art she has produced) with images from the physical world. Given the number of pieces included in this slide show, use of the provided armchairs is advised – and taking the time to see all of the pieces it has to offer really is worthwhile.

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Barbara Borromeo

I confess to have fallen for Barbara’s work; her layered collages are among the most creative pieces of artistic expression I’ve seen either in Second Life or the physical world. The compositional work within them is sublime; the subjects evocative and, on occasion, provocative (as art should on occasion be); and the images bring to Second Life the full breadth and deep of a truly extraordinary talent.

Reached via teleport is a skybox featuring 3D art by one of Second Life’s long-standing artists, Cherry Manga, although sadly, she is nowadays rarely active here, preferring to spend her time in the Open Simulator FrancoGrid. As such, opportunities to witness her work in SL are always welcome.

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Cherry Manga

There are actually two teleports to the installation – the teleport disk on the gallery floor, and a poster on the wall. Both deliver you to different sides of the installation, but for convenience, I’d suggest using the disk. Doing so will land you near a selection of Cherry’s art avatars, which she is giving away free. These are located on a cube bearing the legend Freedom and Random Stuff – which I assume refer to the avatars, but might also be the title of the installation itself.

The two primary elements of the installation are side-by-side cubes in which are displayed animated wireframe scenes of marvellous complexity and which could both be taken as commentaries on modern living. The piece on the right (when looking from the side with the free avatars), seems to suggest a figure breaking free from confinement, the overall design of hexagons suggesting he is escaping the hive-like thinking that modern society can demand of us.

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Cherry Manga

To the left, the second cube offers a scene with strong metaphysical elements – and the chance to become a part of it by entering it and clicking on one of the spheres floating within the cube. This piece is perhaps harder to quantify, being strongly subjective. As such, while I have formed an opinion on it,  I’ll leave it to you to visit and to form your own.

A third piece, Freedom, floats and turns above the selection of free avatars. It presents a strong juxtaposition of ideas: the figure may well be floating and “free”, but she retains the chains which may once have confined her. While they are no longer locked or connected to anything, their presence seems to suggest that “freedom” can simply be an illusion – or, more positively – a state of mind to which we can all aspire, and possibly achieve.

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Cherry Manga

Two stunning exhibitions, both of which should be seen before they close on August 16th.

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