Now open through until Sunday, July 31st, 2022 is the most captivating exhibition of mixed media art it has been my delight to visit. Hosted within the Sky Gallery at NovaOwl, operated by Uli Jansma, Ceakay Ballyhoo & Owl Dragonash, the exhibition features the work of Melina Sue (MelinaSue1).
Set across two levels within the skybox is a selection of art that spans the digital divide, offering images, drawings and paintings from the physical world, together with avatar studies and wildlife pictures captured from within Second Life that is collectively utterly engaging in its richness and diversity.
A long-time resident of Second Life (having originally joined in 2009), Melina Sue describes herself as “a multi-discipline, mixed media artist”, a description that fall far short of her creativity, her eye for composition, colour, narrative, pose and lighting, and her innate ability to capture the very essence of life within her work.
Enter the main level of the gallery and you enter a place where Africa touches upon India’s rain forests, where gazelle, lion, elephant – and tiger – roam under a night-time sky (make sure you use the gallery’s Shared Environment settings). On the rock walls bounding three sides of this grass hollow are arranged images from Second Life: three large format avatar studies of equally enormous richness and that depth of life mentioned above, and three wildlife pictures.
Touching on elements of fantasy, all three portraits contain within them their own narrative that extends well beyond their frames, but which still as individual pieces that can be appreciated for their own beauty – with Inside Me offering a powerful resonance as to the strength of a woman. Between two of them, the wildlife pictures do more that offer images of the animals within them – but carry us to the Serengeti itself; placing us on the grasslands to witness first-hand the movement of gazelle, giraffe and elephant.
On the upper floor, reached by way of a ramp passing two further avatar studies, is another display of Melina’s art, which brings together paintings from the physical world, mixed media pieces from Second Life, and the most engaging drawings containing beloved pets and true life studies. These latter pieces are a continuation of a display of art on the lower floor, arranged around Melina’s signature. Click this and – if you have media enabled – you can witness her bringing a painting to life.
More than this, this selection of studies offer an introduction to Melina’s art in a manner we can all share: as a working artist, she offers both the opportunity for us to purchase her work to hang in our physical world, and will accept – subject to discussion – commissions to produce portraits of humans and our pets. For those who would like a professional photographic portrait of their avatar – or a painting of same – the info board alongside the display provides her rates, whilst more of her work can be viewed on her website.
A truly gifted artist, and a genuinely engaging exhibition.
- Melina Sue at NovaOwl (Novatron, rated General)