Occupying two rooms at Frank Atisso’s Art Korner gallery is an exhibition of avatar studies by Mila Maesar that opened on April 28th, 2022. Perfectly Imperfect marks the first time I’ve had the opportunity to study Mila’s work in detail, and while there doesn’t appear to be any liner notes to accompany the exhibition, this doesn’t diminish it at all; it actually enhances it, allowing the interpretation of the individual pieces and the exhibition as a wholly subjective exercise, driven by one’s own mood at the time of a visit.
The majority of the pieces are head-and-shoulder portraits, although there are some broader images to be found within the collection. At first glance, the images appear to be split between the two rooms simply through the used of colour or tone: monochrome pieces appearing within one room and colour in the other. However, things are not entirely that clear-cut; whilst the darker room does have predominantly black / white or monochrome pieces, there are also hints of colour to be found; whilst in the lighter room, colour predominates, but monochrome pieces are also to be found.
All of the pieces carry a richness of narrative, stories in part suggested through their titles. Several are evocative of iconic images: Waves, for example, carries with it a suggestion of Neve Campbell and Denise Richards as seen in promotional posters and images for the film Wild Things; alongside of it, Honey Pie offers echoes of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.
Whether such touches are intentional or merely my own subjective response to these two particular images, I’ve no idea; but I found similar touches in some of the other images, and through them, a part of my own connection to them.
But if there is a theme within this exhibition, what might it be? I found myself driving to the idea of duality and self. Again, this is in part suggested by the title of the piece, and – obviously – by the images themselves and also the setting.
Most of us who come to Second Life do so in order to find a means of self-expression, a part of which is embodied through our avatars. For the majority of us, this gives rise to avatars that tend towards a view of perfection: an idealised view of who we are / would like to be. But while they might be perfect, we, as their operators remain imperfect, perhaps even conflicted.
Our moods and outlook change – hence perhaps the use of light and dark rooms to display these shifts – whilst our avatars remain constant throughout; perfect in looks, perfect in relationships, perfect in appeal. Even in situations where we’d end up a complete mess – or at least less-than attractive – such has being smothered in honey or splashed in paint, our avatars remain an image of perfection.
This dichotomy between this digital perfection and the imperfections of “real life” is perhaps most clearly represented within Open Up *(seen to the right of this article). It is an utterly startling and fabulously presented piece, with a depth of expression and potential for narrative that completely captivates.
But however you opt to interpret Perfectly Imperfect for yourself, make no mistake; these are visually striking and richly engaging pieces.
- Art Korner: Perfectly Imperfect (Deju, rated Moderate)