Vibes of Painting in Second Life

Vibes Art Gallery

I recently had cause to drop into Vibes Art Gallery to witness a new exhibition of art featuring a trio of artists – Matt Thomson (MTH63), Zia Sophia (Zia Branner) and Wan (Wan Laryukov), entitled Vibes of Painting.

Curated by Eviana Raider (eviana Robbiani), as well as being a centre for exhibiting art, the gallery is also something of a statement of purpose in its own right. In developing it, Eviana has intentionally utilised industrial elements to create a space suggestive of a warehouse facility – three storage buildings with loading / unloading bays and areas, etc., – that has been repurposed  rather than invoking the carbon-costly process of demolition, clearing and replacing. As such, the setting is something of an immersive environment for art displays.

As the name of the exhibition – which opened on July 14th, 2021 – suggests, Vibes of Painting focuses on physical world art the three artists have produced. I was attracted to it for both this reason – I do appreciate the opportunity to witness art from the physical world in Second Life – and because one of the three artists is a name new to me, whilst another is someone who is perhaps more usually associated with Second Life photography, rather than painting.

Vibes Art Gallery: Matt Thompson (MTH63)

That person is Matt Thomson (MTH63). whose work I’ve appreciated through a number of SL exhibitions, and whose sense of humour I’ve enjoyed through reading and re-reading his biography at each of his exhibitions. Here, in one of the two smaller (and linked) warehouse units, he presents a selection of vibrant abstract expressionist pieces worthy of Jackson Pollock or Jean-Paul Riopelle without being in any way derivative. Far from it, in fact, given that Matt is himself an experienced abstract artist. As such, these are pieces that can be fully appreciated as being works by an established abstract art and for the statements they make (mostly in reflection of Matt’s sense of humour and self-deprecating manner).

In the neighbouring hall, Zia Sophia offers a selection of her always layered art. Working mostly with acrylics with accents in oil crayons and in, and to which she often adds materials such as paste, gel, sand, glue, bandages and paper to give her work a tactile sense before finishes with a layer of varnish to act as a binder, Zia produces pieces that have their own unique sense of life.

Vibes Art Gallery: Zia Sophia (Zia Branner)

Embracing a range of techniques and subjects, Zia here presents a selection of pieces that include the purely abstract to a study of a flower in bloom (and which is quite marvellously attractive) and with a slight focus on pieces that feature water and / or coastal scenes. These combine to offer an engaging cross-section of Zia’s art that perfectly sits within the exhibition’s theme and compliments Matt’s abstract pieces, just as his compliment Zia’s.

Occupying the largest of the three display space, Wan Laryukov offers both 2D and 3D work that is richly evocative and oft provocative in theme and content, and which covers multiple styles and genres. Expressionism, allegorical art, symbolism art, figurative art and more are to be found in the selection offered across the floor and on the walls of the hall.

Vibes Art Gallery: Wan (Wan Laryukov)

Presented in colour and black-and white, the 2D art is fascinating in content, with the strongest lean perhaps being towards expressionism, whilst the 3D pieces perhaps lean more towards symbolism in their themes. Both 2D and 3D work make for an engaging display which, when taken as a whole, also offers a stitching of oneirology that brings all of the pieces together as it offers a central point of appreciation.

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