I did not intend to write about another exhibition at Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat so quickly after my last arts write-up (see: Sheba’s mystical art in Second Life). however, after witnessing Isabel Hermano’s exhibition at the Janus II Gallery in the region, I could not help but put fingers to keyboard.
Given the breadth of her work that is on display, I’m rather surprised to admit that’s I’ve not previously documented Isabel’s art, as her digital images are truly captivating to the eye.
Although entitled Living in a Steampunk World, the pieces offered through this exhibition feature much more than the style of retro-futuristic images we might normally associate with the idea of “steampunk”; while such elements – the ideas of Victoriana, corsets, goggles, exotic mechanicals – present in several of the images, so to does the exhibition cast a wider net, capturing retro-modern elements, touches of Fritz Lang and Buck Rogers, hints of childhood, even a glimpse of contemporary science fiction.
This wider casting of the net doesn’t invalidate the title of the exhibition – rather, it enhances it, and offers a new twist.
Take Tinman, with its the image of C3-PO for example: whilst his appearance might bring to mind thoughts of a technologically advanced, spacefaring civilisation far beyond that of our own, his appearance as a “tin man” is not actually that far removed from the ideas of steampunk mechanoids.
Isabel notes that she likes to use bold colours on account of the depth of passion they suggest, and that use of colour is clearly shown here – and I would argue that its presence in these pieces adds a further dimension to their narrative. And make no mistake, these are pieces rich in their ability frame moments and ideas that capture the eye and transport the imagination in the most marvellous of ways, whether or not the idea of steampunk are central to the journey.
For me, this sense of narrative is particularly strong with Radio City Music Hall, and The Sisters. These are also two pieces that may not immediately appear to be particularly “steampunk” in nature. The first brings to mind the era of Marlowe and hard-boiled detectives, whilst the latter richly mixes ideas. With the three female characters, there is a clear reference to Fritz Lang and Metropolis, whilst the airship above them both suggests steampunk airship – but set against a cosmic backdrop of a nebula cloud, it also carries that Buck Rogers vibe mentioned above.
Theses are also pieces that are rich in motif and symbol – the use of animals in several of the more “steampunky” pictures, the juxtaposition of modern technology with suggestions of the Victorian era, mechanical octopuses, and so on that can lead the imagination onwards in it journey – and the eye to the richness of detail within each of these pieces.
Open through until early April, Living in a Steampunk World is a captivating exhibition of digital art.
- Janus II Gallery (Sinful Retreat, rated Adult)