Currently on display at the Michiel Bechir Gallery – itself sporting a new frontage, décor and outdoor events area – are three exhibitions by well-established Second Life photographers, which between them offer a set of contrasts that make for an interesting trio of displays.
On the ground level of the gallery, and bracketing the main foyer are exhibits by Vanessa Jane (VanessaJane66) and Raisa Reimse (RaisaReimse). Both are known and highly regarded for their SL landscape photography and capable hands with post-processing, and while both focus on landscape pieces within there respective halls, both have contrasting styles which also compliment one another.
Within her display, Vanessa Jane offers 15 pieces, many of which offer broad, almost panoramic views of settings within Second Life, re-touched to offer views that contain a degree of romance and / or offer present the richness of the location in a single frame.
Architecture also sits as a focus with several of these pieces, with Vanessa ably demonstrating her ability to bring the character of a building or structure to life, and to wrap a narrative around her images. Capped by three images which are largely black-and-white, this is and engaging selection of art.
By contrast and across the foyer, Raisa Reimse presents a selection of 14 pieces which carry with them a rich sense of painting in the style of the great landscape artists. In part, this sense is due to both the ratio of the images themselves and their framing – but which is mostly imbued through Raisa’s rich use of colour, which offers a depth to these pieces that is genuinely captivating.
These are pieces that also carry a sense of life and motion whilst also demonstrating that Raisa understands the effective use of depth of field and angle to present a unique image / story. In these latter points I’d particularly point to Dream of Fall, with its suggestion of capturing a diorama, and In Flight, which so richly conveys the motion of the Debonair aircraft and the solitary joy that can be found in flying.
Within the upper level hall, Scylla Rhiadra brings a selection of her evocative images together under the theme of Shadow.
The use of light and dark and how they play across surfaces and figures has long been a feature of Scylla’s work; more than a feature, really, and they tend to be central to her work and how she presents themes and ideas. This is a point she acknowledges for herself in the poetic introduction to this display:
No mystery compelling as that obscured by dark.
No beauty so heart-rending as that which lies bathed in shade.
No nakedness is more exposed than that which is clothed in garments of night.
No demons so seductive as those concealed by gloom.
Shadow is the shape of our desire.
Another aspect of Scylla’s work is that of subtext; it is perhaps as important to her compositions as the contrast between light and shadow. This subtext, so often suggested through subtle placement of props as much by pose or focus or angle, gives each piece Scylla produces its fullest depth of expression and narrative. Within this series of images, this is perhaps most clearly seen within Sale, but it is also waiting to be found in each piece by those who take the time to look.
Three richly engaging artists in their own right, in being brought together by Michel within the one gallery, Scylla, Raisa and Vanessa here present a compelling trio of exhibits.
- Michiel Bechir Gallery (Embrace, rated Adult)