Sometimes the best art exhibits come from a chance encounter. Dido Haas, owner and curator of Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (and a talented photographer in her own right), bumped into Mihailsk while he was visiting Nitroglobus in March. A couple of days after that first encounter, he posted an image taken at the gallery, which was then displaying Daantje Bons’ work (see here for a review of that exhibition) – and this image led to Dido looking through Mihailsk’s Flickr steam and then approaching him to exhibit at Nitroglobus.
Even so, he took a little persuading. Despite being active in SL for several years, Mihailsk has only recently entered the world of SL photography and artistic creation, as he explains:
Even though I am in SL since 2014, I feel my second life started the day I decided to dedicate a large part of my time in this virtual world to photography. It was [in] January 2020 when I started this beautiful journey in light, colours and emotions; a journey to fantastic places and loved persons, trying to capture special moments in eternity. Sometimes with a smile, sometimes with pain.
– Mihailsk describing his journey into SL art
Given this, Dido’s invitation marked the first time he has been asked to display his art in-world – which can be a daunting prospect for an artist-photographer, even when well-established on a site like Flickr. Hence the title for this exhibition: Baptism of Fire.
Mihailsk’s work is probably best defined as avatar-focused; a term I use in preference to the more usual “avatar study”, because while a fair portion of his work does focus in on an avatar (either his or that of a friend) in order to frame a story, he also frequently sets his canvas much more broadly, framing an image that blends avatar and surroundings into a richly layered composition that is utterly captivating – as can be seen time and again throughout his Flickr stream.
He is also an artist who uses a variety of styles to express his work, from full colour, to gentle tonal work through to monochrome, with techniques that touch upon sepia colouring, chiaroscuro, post-processing and digital layering. The result of all this being pieces of great visual depth.
Given this, there might be a temptation to pull together a multiplicity of styles and display them together; instead, Mihailsk has focused on presenting pieces that focus on black-and-white / monochrome, and which also fold into them elements of silhouette art, chiaroscuro and minimalism that very much help to focus on his use of emotion in his art. In this he also differs from many other SL artists, who often construct their images to frame what amounts to a pre-determined emotion that they wish to convey to their audience. Instead, Mihailsk frames his pieces in a manner more designed to convey the emotion he felt within a scene or setting; thus they become windows into his feelings and outlook.
The above all said, given the sheer depth and beauty of Mihailsk’s art, I admit I would have perhaps liked to perhaps see some of his colour art included here, simply because it is equally emotive. But make no mistake, what is shown within Baptism of Fire is utterly engaging and a more than worthy display of art from an exceptionally talented individual. and as well as visiting, I encourage you to also take the time to peruse his Flickr stream; you will not be disappointed.
- Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (Sunshine Homestead, rated: Moderate)