Currently open – for a while longer, at least, given I’m getting to this piece very much on the late side! – are two exhibitions by artists I both appreciate and admire: Michiel Bechir and Sisi Biedermann, who between them present two very different, but equally captivating selections of images for visitors to appreciate and, if they so wish, purchase.
Anyone who is familiar with my coverage of the arts in Second Life knows I am enormously inspired by Sisi’s work, which I categorise as some of the most unique and captivating in Second Life. A digital mixed-media artist, Sisi’s subject matter tends to be wide-ranging, covering everything from the natural world through in-world settings to the fantastical and even touching on the abstract and the near-surreal. This is enough to make her work attention-holding, displaying as they do a richness of imagination, style and colour.
However, what, for me, makes Sisi’s work doubly captivating is her ability to layer her pieces such that whilst each is a static piece, it has a sense of being alive; there is something inherently tactile about it that makes you want to run your fingers over it and feel the life within.
All of this is very much on display with her selection of art on display at the Kultivate Signature Gallery. There, spread over the three floors of the gallery space are 24 pieces that richly demonstrate Sisi’s artistry, including a ground-level display of six pieces celebrating her visits to a number of famous cities around the world. These are particularly engaging as the both capture the very essence of landmarks from the places Sisi has visited – The Elizabeth Tower (originally the Clock Tower) of London’s Palace of Westminster, The Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, and New York’s Empire State Building and Chrysler Building (appearing twice) should all be instantly recognisable.
An aspect of these six in particular that I found particularly attractive is that five appear to suggest they have been physically etched rather than photo-layered, and the sixth – with Elizabeth Tower in the foreground – having an also embroidered look to it, thus making these pieces particularly organic in their styling.
The remaining two floors of the gallery hold further pieces of Sisi’s work waiting to engage and en trace. All are richly textured and coloured, inviting the imagination to take flight.
A short walk (or quick teleport) away is the Kultivate Loft Gallery, where Michiel Bechir is currently exhibiting some 32 pieces of his Second Life landscape art, including several in a panoramic format that truly captures the breadth of the regions they represent, whilst four offer a dip into combining landscape with with avatar studies, featuring a subject in period dress suggestive of a Victorian woman of means on her travels.
What I find attractive in Michiel’s work is the manner in which he brings a location to life through camera placement and use of camera angle, always presenting us with a unique view of a place that brings out its natural beauty. His use of post processing also demonstrates a constrained touch that is just sufficient enough to add an evocative edge to his work without becoming top-heavy.
For this exhibition, Michiel has taken the opportunity to present his pieces as collections: most of the the display areas between the building’s structural support offer three or four images from the same location – the aforementioned Victorian Lady images, for example, were all captured in Witchwood. Thus, these pieces become more than individual pieces (although they can be purchased as such), but also sets of images that can be purchased and displayed together at home, making them very collectable.
I admit to not being too sure as to how long Sisi and Michiel will remain on display at Kultivate – these were exhibitions that started in September, so I really would recommendation that if they tickle your artistic fancy, you hop over to Kultivate sooner rather than later.
Water Haven is rated Moderate.