Currently open at the Janus I and Janus III galleries at Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat are two independent exhibitions by Jennifer Steele (Steele Wilder) and John Huntsman (Johannes Huntsman) that share a common link.
I’m going to start with John’s Latitudes, on display at the Janus III Gallery, as this has been open the longest thus far, having commenced on October 17th.
A Marine Corps officer in the physical world, John is well-known within Second Life as a multi-talented individual: photographer, Second Life entrepreneur responsible for the Kultivate brand that recently extended its portfolio to include live music, arts curator and organiser of Team Diabetes of Second Life, whilst in the physical world he is becoming more involved in his family’s art gallery and learning more about art curation in the process.
John’s photography spans both the physical world and the virtual, and encompasses many genres – landscape, architecture, machinery, vehicles, nature, the parts of the world to which he has been deployed on active duty. He presents his images in a variety of styles from colour to monochrome, whilst using post-processing to offer some with a vintage look and feel. More recently he has started to use digital techniques to render his photographs as paintings, and this has led him into a deeper examination of digital painting.
It is that latter that is particularly offered for display with Latitudes, a selection of 20 pieces, with those on the lower level of the gallery offering a marvellously abstracted series of images that are striking in their use of form, colour and style. Some are richly geometric – straight lines, right angles, etc., others present a more fluid, natural flow of line.
These are complimented by a mixed set of images on the upper level of the gallery that brings John’s other artistic talents to the fore, with marvellous natural images of insects, together with photos-as-paintings of vehicles and boats, a combination that offers a rich diversity of John’s work.
Located in the Janus I Gallery is The Art of Jennifer Steele, which opened on Sunday, October 25th. I admit I think this exhibition is the first time I’ve seen Jennifer’s work, which is odd considering she has exhibited at the likes of BURN 2 and the original LEA. As with John, she is multi-talented: an artist both in the physical and virtual worlds. She is also a chef, voice-over artist and business woman running her own company, whilst in Second Life she has worked as a volunteer and mentor among many other aspects of her involvement in virtual life.
As an artist she studied Fine Art and Fine Art History at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo Ontario Canada, under the mentorship of Michal Manson. Her work has been featured in the Robert Langen Art Gallery in the late 1980s, and also in the TAG Art Gallery, The Hub On Queen in Niagara Falls and at Niagara Night of Art, all in Canada. Since graduating, she has studied art in both the United States and Europe, and also presents her own art classes on-line.
Jennifer’s work has been influenced by a number of artists and moments, including the Algonquin School (the Group of Seven), Alex Colville, Ken Danby, Wassily Kandinsky and Claude Monet. Some of these influences are notable within the art presented within the Janus gallery. The eight smaller pencil (and chalk) pieces, for example, lean towards the Realist movement and so echo Colville and Danby. Together, they make a series celebrating the female form and are rich in emotion and energy.
These pieces are accompanied by 16 pieces that are of a more abstracted nature, thus offering that thread of connection with John’s exhibition – although Jennifer’s pieces perhaps lean more towards abstract expressionism in places. These are again pieces rich in colour and form, well suited to the large format in which they are displayed.
Taken individually or together, these are two remarkable and attractive exhibitions which sit well within the broader displays of art to be found within Sinful Retreat (see: Unveiled: a new art experience in Second Life), and should be visited both as a part of that, and / or individually.
Sinful Retreat is rated Adult