Abstract expressions in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson

I recently received invitations to visit two exhibitions within Second Life which although unrelated in concept or core themes, are nevertheless linked by genre and technique, both utilising aspects of abstractism in their presentation. Given this, I’ve opted to offer thoughts on both exhibitions through a single article and hope that it will tweak curiosities sufficiently for readers to visit both exhibitions.

Matt Thompson (MTH63) in some ways needs no introduction here; I’ve covered his art on a number of occasions and have appreciated seeing the focus of his work in-world shift. Having built a strong reputation as a Second Life landscape photographer, Matt has, over his last several exhibitions, taken the opportunity to show his physical world art through the platform.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson

So far as I’m aware (and thus subject to correction on this), the majority of these latter exhibitions have been ensemble in nature, Matt sharing the space with a number number of other artists. However, with Abstractia Hugs the Countryside, which opened on on August 15th at Raging Graphix Gallery, owned and operated by Liv (Raging Bellls), his work takes centre-stage in a vibrant pieces that are largely abstract in nature, each of which has its own story to tell.

Rich in colour, largely vibrant in tone, Abstratica presents pieces that range of pure abstract expressionism (Zoom Boom, The One and Only the Brain Knows  through Yea Blah Blah), mixed with a degree of abstract impressionism (The Dangerous Solo Thought and Gateway to Oblivion) to even touch on Fauvism (Get a Tan You Said). The one exception to this is Faith Hope and Charity, a piece that carries a marvellous sense of etched realism even (conversely) though it appears to have its origins from within Second Life.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson

Each piece, combined with its title, gently marshals thought and perception to bring forth narratives that are as wide-ranging as the colours and tones used within each piece. As well as the inkling of a tale, these are pieces which can contain other elements – touches of Matt’s humour for example, which reveal him as an artist who is confident in his work but not in any way conceited about it; others perhaps have a subtle message within them, rather than narrative per se. Again, take Get a Tan You Said again, is there not a comment on global warming sitting within it? Thus, Abstractia stands as an engaging and layered exhibition.

Hailing from India, Neil (lo01ner01) has been active in Second Life since mid-2017, and at Les Halles de Paris Gallery, owned by Darcy Mokeev he offers a collection of images under the title TATHASTH: a monologue, a collection of 28 abstract images in which one might discern multiple narratives that stand both within single pictures and which may also appear to link some of them in theme.

Les Halles de Paris Gallery: Neil
Neil informs us that tathasth is a Hindu word “which speaks of standing back and calmly observing everything with love and detachment” – which very much speaks to Neil’s general approach to his art, and which here offers a frame in which the 28 images are set. All of them are numbered, and to get the fullest sense of flow between them, I strongly recommend taking the note card from the exhibition’s title easels and then viewing the images in their numbered order around the lower floor and then the upper.

On the lower floor are pieces that might be seen as a mix of abstract expressionism and abstract impressionism, their tones and colouring strongly suggestive of mood and emotion. Several of these perhaps most clearly have the sense of narrative running through them, one to the next. The upper level offers pieces that are more abstracted in nature, but which share that sense of mood / emotion through the use of colour.

Tonally, these are “darker” pieces that those offered by Matt in his exhibition – but that doesn’t necessarily translate to dark or brooding moods throughout TATHASTH: a monologue. Rather, what is presented might be be summed up as perceptions of the the physical world (good and bad), as rendered through the filter of the subconscious, something which suggests that whilst abstract in form, these pieces are the product of automatism, rather than directed thought, further adding to their depth.

Les Halles de Paris Gallery: Neil

Abtractia and TAHASTH are, as noted, two very different exhibitions, but between them they demonstrate the richness of expression that artists can use through a chosen genre, particularly one as richly branched as abstractionism. Both are well worth the time taken to visit them, whether you chose to do so individually, or take the time to visit them one after the other.

My thanks to Fen (Fenrue) for pointing out Neil’s exhibition at Les Halles de Paris to me. 

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