Mihailsk’s Red Sky at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mikailsk – Red Sky

It was back to Dido Haas’ Nitroglobus Roof Gallery for the second time in less than a week, this time to visit Dido’s Space in the gallery (follow the bare footprints on the floor from the landing point to find it), where Greek photographer-artist Mihailsk makes his second appearance in a 3-month period, this time to offer a selection of new pieces under the title Red Sky.

Mihailsk is relatively new to the SL art scene in terms of exhibiting his work – his first such exhibition was actually the July appearance at Nitroglobus mentioned above, which took place in the main gallery space (see: Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire in Second Life). The smaller Red Sky offers both an expansion on what made that exhibition so attractive whilst also contrasting very strongly with it.

In writing about Baptism of Fire I noted that Mihailsk – Miha to those close to him – produces work that is avatar-focused, but not necessarily avatar-centric. That is, whilst an image may include an avatar and framed in such a way to draw the eye to that avatar, it is the overall composition – pose, expression, surroundings – be they indoors or out – use of lighting and colour, etc., that are as equally as important in telling the story within the image, rather than sitting merely as a backdrop. With Red Sky, this is equally if more more true, with each of the pieces featuring – as the title of the exhibition suggests – a red sky of a deep crimson hue which serves to  additionally frame the emotional depth of each image.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mikailsk – Red Sky

Colour is oft used to define or evoke emotions and emotional responses; we talk in terms of someone “seeing red” when exceptionally angry, or of having a “black mood” or being caught in “the blues”; we believe muted tones and colours help evoke feelings of calmness or help people to relax, and so on. Red is especially evocative, as it generates so many responses / emotions / feelings. As noted here, it is often used to represent the stronger emotions of anger and rage, but at the same time it can also express the more tender – love, compassion, care; it can also express danger, the need to be careful or to keep away and, conversely it can emphasise attractiveness and wanting to attract through its use in the clothes we wear.

In his eight pieces, Miha offers six expressions / emotions with which were are all familiar: love, joy, longing, power, pain and danger, together with two pieces – Balance and Visualisation – that speak to broader themes. Within each image, the red sky / backdrop serves to reflect and enhance the sense of emotion already present through the use of other colours, pose, framing, and overall composition.

It is here that the contrast with Baptism of Fire is most evident: were the images there used darker or muted tones / monochrome shading that coalesced within each piece to express their emotion; here it is the strong contrast between the sky and other colours present – green, yellow, the tones of nature, etc., that frames the emotion. But at the same time, the use of colour / tone / shading in this way offers the same strength of narrative context through both exhibitions.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mikailsk – Red Sky

Writing in his liner notes for Red Sky, Miha states, “We are a part of the environment around us, not the main theme.” This is again evident through his work seen within this collection: the poses are natural in form, capturing simple gestures, etc., any one of us might naturally make in any situation; thus they are devoid of any sense of intentional construction, but appear as moments of life caught in a blink of a shutter, avatar and setting forming a natural balance. And here too, the crimson skies also play a role, for crimson is oft referenced as the colour of blood, the oil in our machine, so to speak, that keeps us running; thus we are reminded both through the emotional content of these pieces and the use of colour that life is not just about participating in it, it’s about experiencing it to the fullest extent we can.