Three years ago, in July 2016, I wrote about an exhibition that I found utterly engaging and one of the most captivating exhibitions of physical world art to be reproduced in Second Life – and it remains so today.
That exhibition, Peter Vos in Second Life, celebrates the work of Dutch illustrator, humorist, caricaturist and artist, Peter Vos (Septmber 1935-November 2010). A recent conversation brought the exhibition to mind, do I decided to make a return visit, in part because I wanted to once again immerse myself in the wonderful art of a phenomenally talented artist, and in part to again draw attention to the exhibition through these pages for those who may not yet have visited it – because it remains an absolute must-see.
Put together by Vos’ son, known in-world as Karkassus Jigsaw, Peter Vos in Second Life attempts to encapsulate the penmanship and art of a man whose output was simply enormous and utterly exceptional. This is actually no easy task given Vos encapsulated so much as an artist: the illustrator, the fantasist, the cartoonist, the visionary, the caricaturist, the pasticheur, the letter-writer who stamped his letters with postage stamps of his own making and the dedicated bird-watcher.
As I noted in writing about the exhibition and Vos in July 2016:
Central to his work is a wonderful mix of styles and approaches – and also a deep and loving intimacy with his subjects and audience. In his twenties, he produced Portrait of Papa for his ailing father, followed by a book of pastiches lovingly depicting his father in a series of guises. Later, when he had a young son of his own, he would demonstrate this love for his family again, writing loving letters and postcards to the young boy, relating marvellous journeys around and beyond the Earth, opening his son’s own imagination.
On the ground floor of this gallery-come-museum are interactive elements that help engage the visitor – projectors that reveal varied elements of Vos’ work, including a number of utterly charming self-portraits, together with commentary on his work.
Also to be found on this level are reproductions of the miniatures Vos started painting in 1966. And by miniatures, I mean entire paintings and portraits, both monochrome and colour just 33 mm (1.3 in) across; so small some of the detailing meant working with just a single hair on a brush. These are superbly reproduced “to scale”, and should be viewed by pressing ESC to ensure your camera is free, and then touching the frame of a particular painting to sit. Click Stand to resume touring the gallery.
Upstairs are further examples of Vos’ work, encompassing humour, satire, and social commentary. However, as with my first visit, I find the desk scattered with the paraphernalia of Vos’ work scattered around to be perhaps the most engaging. With the tobacco pouch, notebooks displaying his meticulous studies of birds, his brushes and pens, it is hard not to believe Vos has simply stepped away from his work for a minute or two, and if we wait quietly enough, he’ll return, and allow us to watch him as he continues sketching a sparrow.
The art also continues outside of the gallery building and on the terraces leading up to the front doors. Here, as well as more reproductions of Vos’ art, there are links to a trailer for Vogelparadijs, a documentary film about Vos’ passion as both a bird watcher and an artist.
The beauty of this art and the manner in which it engages and immerses the observer cannot be overstated. AS I noted three years ago, it is absolutely not be missed or overlooked.