Opening on Saturday, September 21st at THE EDGE Art Gallery, curated by Ladmilla, is a new ensemble exhibition entitle Afflatus (“inspiration”). Running through until Monday, October 21st, 2019, the exhibit features the work of Impossibleisnotfrench, Jessamine2108, Davenwolf Dagger, Loegan Magic, together with gallery “regulars” (residents?) Kapaan, Larisalyn, PartrickofIreland and Trisharose, all rounded-out by a display of art and words by Ladmilla and her SL partner, Eli Medier.
For this exhibition, part of the lawn between the gallery’s indoor exhibition spaces has been turned into a garden display, with paths meandering around work by the quite delightfully name Impossibleisnotfrench (using the Display Name Harry Cover – the name I’m going to go with here, simply for brevity of typing!), and Trisharose. I’m starting here in part because it is the most obvious element in the exhibition, sittig as it does in the midst of the gallery space, but also because Harry’s 3D work is utterly captivating, and it’s the first time I can recall witnessing it in Second Life.
For My Third Life Harry present 25 eggs, the majority of which are each slightly larger than an avatar’s neck and head, all of them mindful of Fabergé eggs, but eschewing the gold and bejewelled exteriors in favour of external painting and design in keeping with their contents. Within each (just click the lid on those that might be closed and hiding their interiors) is the most remarkable diorama or model, all of them spanning a broad range of subjects from little World War I Sopwith Camels patrolling the air over their base, to miniature paintings to tiny goldfish swimming in their bowl, with landscapes, figurines and even a couple of cheeky and humorous pieces (think the girl is taking a shower? look more closely!). All are actually drawn from elements of Harry’s life and family, thus offering a “3rd life”, so to speak, reflection of his first life. They are, individually and collectively, an absolutely must-see display that is mesmerizing in its beauty, inspiration and skill of execution.
Alongside Harry’s installation, Trisharose presents Be Kind, Laugh and Smile Today, a selection of ten avatar studies and two – for me – quite eye-catching studies of that staple of Second Life landscape, the lighthouse.
Within the gallery buildings can be found the installations by the remaining participants in the exhibition, each of whom presents pictures on a theme of their choosing.
Following the order of buildings anti-clockwise from behind the outdoor display, these are Jessamine2108, who offers us a series of Musings, images ranging from studies of avatars in motion (Passion) through to composite pieces (Transcendence) by way of landscape studies to present a set of pieces that do indeed encourage the mind to muse on them. With All Creatures Great and Small, a wonderful selection of landscape and animal images captured around SL, Larisalyn channels the spirit of James Herriot (actually veterinary surgeon Alf Wright), and I challenge anyone not to find a smile at the title piece alongside the entrance to her gallery space.
For Vintage Virtual and The Promise Loegan Magic and Kapaan respectively focus on black and white images, albeit it in very different ways. With his images, Loegan presents scenes from Second Life that suggest we are looking back over many decades, to a time before the advent of colour photography; only the appearance of the shells of road vehicles in a couple breaks this illusion. More than that, however, is that in their monochrome rendering, these are images suggestive of a mind in sleep recalling the places it has seen through the medium of dreaming.
Kapaan’s work, meanwhile is of a darker tone and presents itself as a narrative, each image potential a scene from an unfolding story – a journey undertaken by a lone hero. But to what end? That, perhaps, is for us as the witnesses to decide. Or perhaps the clue lies in the small annex to the main display space.
Davenwolf Dagger is a photographer in the physical world whose work first came to my attention earlier in 2019, and towards which I admits to having something of a fascination. With Industrial Fusion he offers more of his images from the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, Tasmania, and which make up his Blacksmith series. Here they are combined with industrial pieces from SL to provide a unique blending of ideas.
Puppets presents more of Ladmilla’s always superb and evocative images – here with a slightly surreal slant – coupled with Eli’s masterful use of prose and poem to present a series of pieces encompassing reflections on life, identity, relationships and human nature, all of which meld the physical and the virtual to stir the mind and the eye.
Surrealism is also very much a part of PatrickofIreland’s Four Elements – Essentials of Life. This is something of an immersive installation, commencing within the courtyard of the gallery space. As the name suggests, it offers a celebration of the four essential elements of life – water, air, earth and fire, with each represented through fabulously surreal pieces.
Inspired and inspirational, Afflatus and its ensemble exhibitions of at officially opens at 11:00 SLT on Saturday, September 21st, with music by DJ Avalon Boa between 12:00 noon and 14:00 SLT.
- THE EDGE Art Gallery (Totuga Island, rated: Moderate)