Now open at DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, is Retrospective, a selection of images by Serene Footman – and it is one I thoroughly recommend for a number of reasons.
The first is that Serene is perhaps most famously known for his creation of Furillen, one of Second Life’s most atmospheric region designs that opened in December 2015 (see The beauty of a bleak midwinter in Second Life) and which became the first of a number of designs Serene developed, generally in partnership with Jade Koltai, and mostly inspired by physical world locations. Creating these regions demonstrated Serene’s eye for beauty, detail and presentation, as well as he creativity – and these are precisely the talents evidenced in the images presented through this exhibition.
The second reason is that until now, Serene has consistently refused invitations to display his in-world photography. Why he has changed his mind is explained in a blog post he published on the Furillen web site; I’m not going to cover the subject matter in that post, as it is personal to Serene, and as such deserves to be read first-hand and without the filter of any subjective interpretation on my part. Suffice it to say it is a personal, moving piece.
Given this is Serene’s first exhibition of photography, calling it a retrospective may seem to be a little strange. However, as some of the thirteen images present views of Serene’s own creations, the title is fitting.
Serene’s style, in keeping with his region designs, is marvellously focused and – as seen through the majority of the pieces offered in this exhibition – containing a wonderful sense of minimalism in which to frame a narrative. Also to be found in some is a quite delightful sense of humour that is evidenced without losing their ability to stir the imagination as well as raising a smile.
For me, the delight of this exhibition is that each piece has something to say on life and living, whether it is through the wonderful humour mentioned above, or in more subtle reflections offered through pieces like A Hen Is Just An Egg’s Way Of Making Another Egg and I Will Wade Out, or the marvellous and moving depth of pieces like Let’s Live Suddenly Without Thinking. All of which, coupled with Serene’s superb use of tone and texture, make this an exhibition that genuinely should not be missed.
And for those captivated with Serene’s work, I’ll also note that Furillen itself is once again back in Second Life for a time. This also should not be missed, whether or not it has been visited in the past, and again I recommend reading his blog post about its return.
- DiXmiX Gallery (Bay Port, rated: Moderate)