Currently available the Monocle Man Gallery, curated by Kit Boyd and Lynx Luga, is an outstanding exhibition by Hiliare Beaumont. Untitled, it presents a series of self-portrait avatar studies that are – despite the fact I often use this phrase with regards to art exhibitions in Second Life – genuinely rich in their depth of narrative and content.
These are piece that bring together a range of inspirations – literature, film, music, elements of fantasy, historical drama to present pieces that are evocative, layered and often highly emotive. Through their presentation, these are pieces that illustrate the fact that Hilaire was initially drawn to Second Life as a place of role-play, and has since grown towards photography as a means of expression and emotional release.
The role-play aspect can perhaps be seen in the likes of Le Fantome de l ‘Opera, Clown and Lullaby of Woe, together with Old Man, Diggin’ My Grave and The Wild Horde. These last three, intentionally or otherwise, sit together almost as three parts of an evolving story whilst also each standing in their own right; there is within each of them a wonderful sense of the classic western of the Ford or Leone eras.
Both Le Fantome and Clown have very defined origins, but bring with them a real sense of emotion about them that might not be quite in keeping with our usual thinking about the characters they represent: introspection in one, and a suggestion of unemotional, calculated logic with the other. However, of these particular images, Lullaby of Woe is the piece that most acutely caught my attention in the way the story it suggests seemed to flow between various characters, from Sherlock Holmes through to Dr. Jekyll and back, complete with hints of both James Moriarty and Mr. Hyde.
Other pieces may not directly draw thoughts toward fictional pieces or film, but their emotional content is just as incredibly captivating. Aux Sombres Heros de L’amer (taking its title from the song by French rock group Noir Désir?) and Je ‘t en remets au vent, for example, are powerfully evocative of a broader story (as well as having a marvellous sense of the 19th century about them).
Alongside of these sit Sympathy and Mother, two pieces that are simply packed with expression and emotion, particularly for anyone who has recently lost a family member. Both are also a tour de force in framing, depth of field, image depth, and camera angle; each genuinely standing as a life study you do not so much view as step into.
The simple truth is that each and every one of these images has something to say, so much so that a book could easily be written about this exhibition. But equally, the fact that they do is more than adequate reason for going along to the gallery and view them for yourself; they demonstrate the truth of what can oft seem a tired adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. All of the pieces are offered for sale at an incredibly modest price, and I understand that all proceeds are going to support the gallery directly.
- Monocle Man Gallery (Monocle Man, rated Adult)