Currently available at Frank Atisso’s Art Korner is an exhibition of avatar studies by a artist whose work is new to me: Tiya Aura, who presents a series of images under the title The Art of Portraiture, and it is a fascinating collection to view.
Avatar studies are one of – if not the – most popular forms of art and photography produced through Second Life. images take many forms, from straightforward portraiture intended for use within Profiles to complex posed pieces, often with an backdrop of some form and intended to reflect a theme (generally the title of the piece) and / or tell a single-frame story. Sill others focus on the avatar itself, tightly-focused and intended (again) to convey a narrative and / or emotional content, and so on.
Within The Art of Portraiture, Tiya very much focuses on that category of studies intended to convey emotion, offering 21 images of her own avatar and those of her friends (some subjects featured in more than one image), split between the two display spaces within the skybox gallery. Some of the images are captured in the “traditional” style of a portrait image, with the subject looking directly at the camera or in profile. Others are offset in both cropping and angle, suggesting a sudden moment caught by chance. Throughout all of them there is a deep of character.
These are images that not only capture an emotional element, many offer insight into the nature of the subject within the image, and by extension, the persona behind it. This is perhaps more evident within Tiya’s self-portraits, but is also very notable in several of the other pieces as well. Thus, this is a collection where the life – the humanness – of the avatar subjects is prevalent, and with a depth that suggests it was as much captured within the raw image as brought to the fore by considered and practiced post-processing that more than demonstrates Tiya’s artistry with digital tools.
In terms of post-processing, lighting and contrast are perhaps the most powerful tools Tiya uses to complete her work. Several of the pieces utilise lighting overlays and effects to help bright forth the emotional content, either by framing the subject so as to cast illumination around but perhaps not directly on the face, or by providing a seen, a projection of light and softer colours we must look through. Both approaches are utterly effective, as they causes one to focus in on the subject, to study eye, expression, direction of gaze, tilt of head, and thus become drawn into the sentiment Tiya saw when creating each piece.
In this the pictures within The Art of Portraiture not only offer a richness of emotion within the study of an avatar or present a glimpse of the persona projected by an avatar’s looks, they provide a subtle insight into the artist herself and how she responded to these images as she post-processed them.
Rich in form, colour, content and presentation, The Art of Portraiture is a genuinely bewitching collection of images; one that is offered – as is becoming increasingly popular within SL art circles – for sale on the basis of “pay as you feel” – the buyer set the amount they wish to pay for a given piece, rather than the artist setting the price.
- Art Korner Gallery (Deju, rated Moderate)