Traci and Moni: of self through others in Second Life

Art Korner, April 2022: Traci Ultsch and Monique Beebe

Opening on Wednesday, April 13th is a further joint exhibition at the main gallery within Frank Atisso’s Art Korner – one that again features the work of Traci Ultsch, who this time partners with Monique Beebe. Between them they offer two distinct exhibitions that share some common threads.

With Hell is Other People, Traci presents a series of pieces that are in part spiritually connected to her March exhibition at Art Korner – and not just because they share the same space on the upper level (see: Danni and Traci: portraits and colour in Second Life). This is a series of images that share much of a common root with that exhibition, challenging us to consider the individual in each of them, but to do by using them as a lens through which we might consider the question who am I?

Art Korner, April 2022: Traci Ultsch and Monique Beebe

In this respect, Hell Is Other People tackles some heady concepts – Satre, solipsism, phenomenology – who we really are when we see ourselves through the eyes of others. Hence the title of the piece, which is perhaps one of Satre’s most famous lines. It first appeared in his 1943 play, Huis Clos (“No Exit”), in which three men find themselves in hell – and come to realise their everlasting punishment is to see themselves through the eyes of others.

All those eyes intent on me. Devouring me. What? Only two of you? I thought there were more; many more. So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales! There’s no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS OTHER PEOPLE!

– “Joseph Garcin” in Huis Clos, Jean-Paul Satre 1943

To explore this, Traci introduces the pieces in the exhibition via text from philosophy.com, while the pieces themselves offer unique perspectives of avatars. Portraits, yes (like those of the March exhibition), but from unusual angles and / or cut through with lines of colour or blackness, each one communicating a view, a perspective that might be seen as analogous to the idea of seeing oneself differently – through the eyes of others, one might say.

Art Korner, April 2022: Traci Ultsch and Monique Beebe

For Still Waters run Deep, located on the lower floor of the gallery, Monique Beebe also offers a series of images – self-portraits – that also have an introspective nature – and more. As the introduction to the selection notes:

Art is not created with the viewer in mind. It flies from the soul. The pictures on Moni each has their own story, their emotion. They resemble loneliness, waiting, hope and a little spark of hope.

The first part of this statement is an unattributed quote that has been used in various contexts, but here helps to provide that common thread that links Moni’s work with Traci’s: that her art is a reflection of herself. Each piece, as the introduction notes, is intended to convey an emotion, a story, we are invited to explore and consider. And perhaps, through viewing them and reflecting further of what drew us to the stories we feel they say, come to a better understanding of ourselves.

Art Korner, April 2022: Traci Ultsch and Monique Beebe

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