Wintertime in the northern hemisphere is when thoughts turn to snow and holidays, and within Second Life, this is no exception. Many regions take on a winter look and feel, the ground, trees and buildings caught under white blankets or dusted with snow, even as more often falls from the sky. For many in the physical world, despite the cold, it is a time of joy and for treks through virgin drifts of snow or – in the case of the younger at heart snow fairies, snowmen and sledges and sleighs.
Celebrating this time of year is not new; people have always found enjoyment with winter and the changes it brings to the world, and right now we can witness this for ourselves at a recently opened exhibition of art at The Vordun Museum and Gallery, created and curated by Jake Vordun.
Entitled Frost: Visions of Winter, it offers selected reproductions of classical pieces of art spanning 500 years, celebrating winter in all its glory, as the introductory notes explain:
In this exhibition, you will see twenty painting, drawings, prints and manuscripts depicting different aspects of the season. Be it landscapes, winter costumes or feasts by the fire, these pieces will show you glimpses of winter from the 15th century to the 20th.
The Vordun has a reputation – thoroughly deserved – for bringing high-quality reproductions of physical world art, properly licensed, into Second Life. This exhibition, located in the gallery’s rearmost hall, is no exception. Including paintings and drawings by the likes of Francesc Masriera i Manovens, Jacob van Ruisdael, Sebastiaan Vrancx, Claude Monet, Jean-Baptiste Pater, Francis Wheatley and Hendrick Avercamp, this might at first be considered a wholly European view of winter – but not so; America is represented via James Abbott McNeill Whistler, as is China through the ink on paper Winter Forest in Flying Snow by Wen Zhengming, with Scandinavian artists also being present among the images.
I really cannot stress the quality of these pieces, which together with the environment in which they are set. As I noted when it first opened in July 2016, The Vordun beautifully recreates the experience of visiting a physical world art gallery – so much so that it one of the those select Second Life experiences that leaves me regretting we cannot have fully immersive virtual reality in Second Life. Certainly, for those building in Sansar, it is perhaps the model of how to plan and build a virtual gallery space.
This is not only because of the look and feel of The Vordun, but in the way Jake has developed a visit as a Second Life experience in the technical sense of the word, presenting visitors with the opportunity to view the works in the main hall exhibition of European Masters: 300 Years of Painting as immersively as possible, via scripted camera control and the use of both voice and text to impart information on each piece on display.
Sadly, this aspect of The Vordun doesn’t extend into Frost: Visions of Winter, but that is not to say the latter is lessened in any way; rather the reverse. Frost stands as a captivating exhibition in its own right, while for those who haven’t visited The Vordun before, the presentation of European Masters: 300 Years of Painting, makes a visit to the gallery doubly worthwhile – and also gives the opportunity to appreciate two other long-running exhibitions there: Pictures of the Floating World and Dutch Proverbs (both of which you can read about here), which are as equally stunning as Frost and European Masters, and sample Postcrossing, a celebration of the website of the same name and the use of postcards to bring half a million people around the world a little closer together.
- The Vordun Museum and Gallery (Rated: Moderate)