Ekphrasis: the rhetorical nature of art in Second Life

Artsville: Angelika Corral – Ekphrasis

Now open within Gallery 1 within Artsville, the arts hub operated by Vally Lavender (Valium Lavender) and managed / curated by Frank Atisso is Ekphrasis, a selection of highly visual pieces of art by Angelika Corral, a Second Life photographer of note, and former co-operator of Daphne Arts in SL.

Comprising 10 individual pieces which – I believe – started as Second Life avatar studies, but which have been have been subject to considered post-processing to present a set of unique images created by the artist with the express intent of evoking a response from all who see them. But not, however, a purely emotional (or even visceral response); rather, the intent is evoke responses along more ekphrastic lines.

In its simplest form, ekphrasis is the use of one medium of art (traditionally the written word, be it prose, poetry or lyric) attempts to define and/or describe the essence and for of another, and in doing so, illuminates the art to a wider audience through its description. Some of the pieces I write in this blog on art exhibitions, of example, might be said to be examples of ekphrasis, in that they attempt to present an interpretive commentary on the art to which they relate. A motion picture based on a novel might also be seen as a latter-day form of ekphrasis, bringing the essence and form of the novel to an audience, allowing them to absorb and interpret it more freely than through the written word itself.

Artsville: Angelika Corral – Ekphrasis

In this, such interpretive broadening can be said to be rhetorical; they seek to persuade the audience towards a given reaction or response. Within her exhibition, Angelika embraces this concept, presenting ten images she encourages us to consider and interpret. to develop our own narratives and stories as we examine them; to allow thoughts and reactions to explore the spirit, if you will, of each piece. The fact that the narratives I see may differ from those you see, matters not.

And therein lies, perhaps, the broader genius of this exhibition; “traditional” ekphrasis is generally considered to be a rhetorical device – the words use by the poet or storyteller illuminating the art to which it relates. While this is certainly true here, it might be said that the images Angelika presents are themselves rhetorical devices; when we observe art, we do so entirely subjectively, our views coloured by our own sensibilities – hence my mention of an emotional / visceral response to any piece of art above.

So here, Angelika offers pieces that through their structure and form, themselves take on the role of narrator; they subliminally encourage us – through our own preconceptions / moods – to drive our personal narrative in a direction that is purely in-the-moment; a narrative that will more than likely shift and change the next time we view each one – be that an hour or a day or a month hence.

Artsville: Angelika Corral – Ekphrasis

Engaging, complex and a visual personification of a concept dating back to ancient Greece, Ekphrasis presents a thought-provoking exhibit of art.

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