Landscapes and avatars in Second Life

Focus Magazine: Charly Keating

Currently open at both the Focus Photo Gallery and the Focus Artist In Residence (FAIR) galleries, operated by Focus Magazine and curated by AngelaThespian and PatrickofIreland are a set of exhibitions I enjoyed viewing over the weekend for their mix of subject and styles.

Having opened on March 6th, the exhibition that the Focus Photo Gallery, located on the upper floors of the Magazine’s main building, features the landscape photography of Charly Keating (ladycharis). Described as a “painter of thoughts; photographer of dreams” her work is just that: art that offers settings as they might appear in thoughts and dreams.

Focus Magazine: Charly Keating

Dark-toned, carefully post-processed to emphasise certain elements – clouds, Sun, sky as a whole, the fall of light on a wall, and so on, and composed with an eye for harmony and balance between foreground and background, these are pieces in which it is easy to become lost. Such is the beauty of each scene offered, that it is both simultaneously new and yet familiar, regardless of whether or not we recognise the actual location where the original image may have been captured. They are evocative of memories that appear to be ours whilst in truth remaining Charly’s own vision.

Rich in colour and content, evocative in presentation, this exhibition served as my first exposure to Charly’s work in-world, and I look forward to seeing more in the future.

Focus Magazine: Rachel Magic

The remaining four artists considered here have their work exhibited at the FAIR gallery, a short walk across the sky platform from the Focus offices.

On the ground floor, Rachel Magic (larisalyn) similarly use her studies of landscapes settings and self-portraits to tell a story. She does so through a broad palette of styles, from black and white through to colour, with some using tonal approaches to their finish, others leaning more to painted scenes than photographs. All have touches of detail that help to draw the observer into them and frame their own narrative around the picture.

Focus Magazine: Jason Westfield

Across the hall, Jason Westfield offers a series of avatar studies that again offers a range of styles and approaches, from self-portraits through to subtle female studies rendered in a number of finishes that tend to draw the eye to them, although I personally felt the most evocative of the pieces displayed are Mask and Hand. The latter in particular is beautiful in its apparent simplicity, and yet deeply nuanced in potential interpretation and artfully presented.

The upper floor of the FAIR building presents what might be considered a join exhibition by SL partners Vin Soulstar and Airi Soulstar (AiriTryst).

Focus Magazine: Vin Soulstar

Both exhibits again focus on avatar studies and between them revel the couple’s relationship and a couple and as photographers. As such, these exhibits stand as both complimentary and complementary halves of the same coin, so to speak.

Within each side of the floor where they are displayed, we’re offered insight into the individual styles used by Vin and Airi – colour, tone, lighting, post-processing, finish – which sets them apart as individual photographers. At the same time, we are given witness to the manner in which they view their work and lives as an SL couple, which draws their respective exhibitions together into a single whole.

Focus Magazine: Airi Soulstar

An engaging series of exhibitions, nicely brought together in a single place, the Focus Magazine and FAIR galleries are well worth a visit. Should you do so, don’t forget to also pay a visit to the Exploratorium of Art, located under the main platform, and accessed via the building at its southern end.

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