Emergent Gallery revisited in Second Life

Emergent Gallery, November 2022

It’s been over two years since my last visit to Ilrya Chardin’s Emergent Gallery space. At that time, it occupied a landscaped 1/4 Full region, offering an exhibition space for Ilrya’s 2D and 3D work, together with a small number of invited artists. Now, two years on, the gallery remains within that same 1/4 Full region, but now comprises a series of art facilities built directly over water and linked one to the next by paved footpaths.

The largest of these, within the landing point directly before it together with teleport information boards to Ilrya’s other current exhibitions in Second Life, is the main gallery building. Inside, the entrance level comprises a collection of Ilyra’s 2D and 3D work. Above this, on the mid-level, a series of exhibition spaces host art from guest artists, with a further level – the Penthouse Level – above that with additional exhibition halls.

Emergent Gallery, November 2022: CybeleMoon and Chuck Clip

Now to be honest, I’ve no idea if the spaces within the gallery are offered to artists on a rental basis or are invited exhibitions that change over time. However, at the time of my visit, the mid-level comprised displays by Chuck Clip, CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo), Mareea Farrasco (three artists for whom I have a lot of admiration), Riannah Avora, Kisma Reidling and Eylinea Seabird. The Penthouse, meanwhile, hosted exhibitions by Carelyna, Chelo Baron, LIV (RagingBellls), Sheba Blitz, and Toysoldier Thor.

Together, these 11 artists present an engaging mix of 2D and 3D art, while outside, five smaller halls offer exhibition space for a single artist each. Again, whether these are offered for rent or to host limited-period exhibitions by invited artists is something I’m not sure about; however, at the time of my visit, they housed exhibitions by Zia Sophia (Zia Branner), Suzen JueL (JueL Resistance), Ladmilla Medier (Ladmilla) and Eli Medier and two more artists who I admire greatly: Hermes Kondor and Sisi Biedermann.

Emergent Gallery: Adrian Harbinger

The final and second largest hall within the gallery is given over to a permanent exhibition of 2D and 3D art offer by Ilyra and as a tribute to several of the SL artists she admires. However, this is not the end of the exhibits or exhibit spaces. An open-air space offers the potential to be used to be for either 2D or 3D art, or a mix of both. This latter point is ably demonstrated by the space hosting a display of 2D and 3D work by Adrian Harbinger.

With two further platforms hosting Ilyra’s 3D pieces and more individual 3D pieces also sitting over the water, Emergent offers a lot for art lovers to appreciate. As such, it remains an engaging centre for art in Second Life.

Emergent Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

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Starborn Gallery in Second Life

Starborn Gallery

Lizbeth Morningstar is relative newcomer to Second Life, but is making her mark as both a photographer-artist and – as from November 26th, 2022 – a gallery owner and curator, with her Starborn Gallery.

Located on the southern coast of Geata V and with a beachfront setting offering space to host exhibition opening events, the gallery utilises its own shared environment for ambient lighting, and it is recommended visitors set their viewers to Used Shared Environment (World → Environment) so that it is used when viewing the art on display. The building itself – designed and built by Lizbeth – presents two display wings, one of which features selections of Lizbeth’s own work, and the other to guest artists who will be displaying at the gallery on a rotational basis. For the Gallery’s opening, Pedro (PedroGlande) is the guest artist.

Starborn Gallery, November 2022 – Lizbeth Morningstar
SL is such amazing world for photography inspiration. I Love Photography; for me, it is the Fusion of mind and scenery. I take photos to express my feelings. My photos vibes varied by flowing mood. Self-Healing is the theme of this exhibition.
Taking photos in SL is my Self-Healing, Self-Meditation process. You may find a sense of purification or calm in these photos. I want to breathe fresh air and embrace sunshine in both RL and SL. Let’s take a soothing step to recall the light of our lives.

– Lizbeth Morningstar

Despite her relatively recent arrival in Second Life, Lizbeth has fairly immersed herself in the world of Second Life art and photography, developing an approach and style that is both eye-catching and somewhat unique. Many of her images are semi avatar-centric, in that her own avatar is featured within her pictures;  however, they are not avatar studies in the traditional sense of that term. Instead, they are what might be called “life studies” in which her avatar (or one of her pets!) is seemingly caught in a natural moment so that while our eyes are drawn to both avatar and / or pet, it is the setting as a whole that gives the image both context and sense of spontaneity that counters the fact it has been posed and post-processed.

Starborn Gallery, November 2022 – Lizbeth Morningstar

In many of her images, Lizbeth opts for a combination soft focus and depth of field to bring her avatar to the fore, with her colour palette tending towards softer tones. This gives many of her pieces a slightly dream-like effect, helping her work to be instantly recognisable.

In the second wing, Pedro presents Transmute, a collection of images which also feature his avatar.  However, rather than being individual narrative pieces, the images in Transmute are offered under an over-arching theme: our relationship with (and perhaps, the discovery of) our relationship with nature and natural things.

Starborn Gallery, November 2022 – Pedro PedroGlande

Within these images, we find Pedro within natural woodland settings, exploring, relaxing, and exulting in the natural cast of tress, woodlands and tall grass. These are pieces that use angle, focus and post-processing to enormous effect to present single-frame, tightly focused narratives, each beautifully tied to the core theme; a theme also framed by the lyrics from Pendular by the Brazilian indie rock group Scalene.

The one exception to all this can be found at the rear of the hall’s lower floor. It takes the form of a small photo studio complete with a chair for posing and three greyscale self-portraits of Pedro in various poses on the chair. The images are engaging, their greyscale tones providing a level of natural reality in a manner which colour renders would require much more intrusive post-processing to achieve. I’ll be honest, I had hoped the chair within the little studio would offer a series of poses so that visitors might try their own hand in capturing themselves whilst seated / standing on it and thus experiment with their own artistic expressionism, but alas, the chair had (at the time of my visit) just the one pose.

Starborn Gallery, November 2022 – Pedro PedroGlande

It is always pleasing to see new artists and new galleries appear in Second Life, and I certainly look forward to witnessing further exhibitions at Starborn and in witnessing Lizbeth’s evolving journey as a Second Life photographer-artist. And now that I’ve been properly introduce to Pedro’s work, I hope all be able to witness more exhibitions where he is a focused artist.

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We Orange the World in Second Life

Artsville: We Orange the World, 2022

Opening on Friday, November 25th at Artsville is We Orange The World, a 16-day arts event intended to coincide with the The United Nations Women’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, and which runs from November 25th, 2022 through to December 16th inclusive.

The physical world campaign started in 1991 at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute, which continues to coordinate each year’s campaign. It is used as a nexus strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. Initially a civil society initiative, the campaign has – since 2008 – been supported by the UNiTE campaign,  which runs parallel events with the aim of ending violence against women by 2030.

Within We Orange the World, artists have been invited to submit a piece of 2D or 3D art to be displayed within the exhibition, related to the general theme of the beauty and empowerment of women around the world. Entrants were asked to keep pieces positive, uplifting and empowering rather than negative in nature, otherwise subject matter and presentation were left up to the artists.

Artsville: We Orange the World, 2022
Why [are we] having this campaign in our virtual world?
Let’s face it! Gender-based abuse also exists virtually, it may be in an unintentional or intentional form. The extent of this violence may not be physical but will always result to short-term or long-term emotional trauma and anxiety to the member victims resulting to a violation of the Community of Standards (not TOS) of SL. Raising awareness in our SL community will give us reminders that one cannot just violate and do things according to their pleasure in-world with the expense of another person/ persons. It is time to at least put light into this issue by supporting us.

– We Orange the World organisers

The event is taking place on a purpose-built sky platform at Artsville, a space divided into a number of areas, all caught under an appropriately orange sky. The first part is an area of open water backed by high falls against which a seated Buddha floats serenely. An island and small promontory sit over the water, both home to elements of a Zen garden. The island is the main landing point for the event, and is noticeably crowned by a sculpture (Lady Carmagnolle by Bryn Oh). This helps indicate that the statuary in the event are interactive in nature: touch them to receive information in keeping with the theme of the campaign.

Artsville: We Orange the World, 2022

Over a bridge from the landing point, a path winds its way to the remaining elements of the setting: the main art exhibition and the event space – We Orange the World will include a number of related events through its run including music, DJ events and poetry reading (although at the time of writing, a schedule of events had yet to be published), all with the focus of raising awareness of the campaign and what it is trying to achieve / eliminate. After passing through the event spaces, the path winds onwards back through the screen of trees to the little headland on the lake. Along the way are a number of seating areas, with benches also presented within the art display areas for those wishing to appreciate the art.

The call for artists this year went out a little on the late side (earlier in November), but the artists who have responded to the call include: Wren Carling, Mara Telling, Carelyna, Selen Minotaur, GitterPrincess Destiny, Idoliza, Ilrya Chardin, Anja, Mareea Farrasco, AmandaT Tamatzui, Jaz, Elfi Siemens, Sina Souza, Ambre Singh, Justhyne Shewolf and deborakaz. All of whom nevertheless make for an engaging exhibition.

Artsville: We Orange the World, 2022

Photo Contest

The global theme for this year’s UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence is UNITE! Activism to end violence against women and girls. In support of this theme, the organisers of We Orange the World partnering with GP Gallery to run a photo contest on the theme of Unite, with a total of L$10,000 available in three prizes.

The competition runs through until December 10th, 2022, the the rules being:

  • Photos can be taken anywhere in SL but must adhere to the theme of “Unite” and “Violence against Women”.
  • Post-photo editing is allowed for touch ups only – no significant work that changes the content / appearance of a piece.
  • Entrants can submit a maximum of two pieces to the competition.
  • Submission should be made to the contest Flickr group, and must include “#orangetheworld2022” in the description, together with the entrant’s name, and must be uploaded no later than 12:00 noon SLT on Saturday, December 10th, 2022.
  • Photos will be judged on composition, style, creativity and general appeal.
Artsville: We Orange the World, 2022

We Orange the World officially opens on Friday, November 25th, 2022 at 13:00 SLT with a special event featuring the live music of Kael and Maximillion Kleene.

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Alex Riverstone’s Melancholia in Second Life

NovaOwl Gallery, November 2022: Alex Riverstone

After my almost back-to-back forays of late into art exhibitions that either focus on, or lean towards, hybrid art and the use of AI tools (notably MidJourney), I thought I would do a little course adjustment and offer a look at some Second Life based photographic art. To that end, I trundled off to NovaOwl Gallery, curated and operated by ULi Jansma, Ceakay Ballyhoo & Owl Dragonash.

It this there, within the ground-level gallery space, that people can find – through until the end of 2022 – an exhibition of art by Alex Riverstone, an artist whose work I have appreciated for some to and always enjoy witnessing.  This is a modest exhibition, featuring a baker’s dozen of pictures by Alex; however, it stands as proof that quantity isn’t necessarily everything: quality accounts for more.

Second Life has allowed me to enjoy it in a different way: allowing the exploration of scenes, poses and angles which wouldn’t be practical in the real world.

– Alex Riverstone

NovaOwl Gallery, November 2022: Alex Riverstone

On first viewing the exhibition, I was struck by the apparent disconnect between its title – Melancholia – and the subject matter of the images presented.

In purely medical terms, melancholia is a subtype of depression, characterised by a number of symptoms such as severely depressed mood, pervasive anhedonia, and lack of emotional responsiveness. As a concept, it has a history dating back to ancient medicine in Europe, and was long regarded as one of the the four temperaments matching the four humours. However, whilst the pieces Alex presents within the exhibition can be called many things – artistic, picturesque, engaging, and so on – none immediately strike one as being of a depressed or melancholic nature when looked upon.

However, in their visual richness they do encompass another interpretation of “melancholia”, one popular in the Renaissance when it was taken as a sign of artistic genius; and there is plenty of artistic expression to be found in each of these pieces from their initial composition, through their processing and presentation and finishing with their titles, such that each one stands as a unique image capable of carrying our imaginations into a world of self-made narrative.

NovaOwl Gallery, November 2022: Alex Riverstone

And it is within that narrative that we chose – as this is purely subjective – to see some of the images as how aspects of melancholia might be visualised in a picture or painting. For example, take the Duality images (7, 8 and 9). within them are hints of melancholic traits we might chose to see: the absence of anyone to enjoy the flying kites and the puppies on the bridge perhaps echoing feelings of anhedonia; the empty chairs speaking to the loneliness of depression / melancholy; the tree with its suggestion of a figure hanging by their wrists from it suggesting despondency. Others, through their titles perhaps whisper more keenly on the subject – as with the Wall and Lonesome Cottage.  Even the loungers of Summer Holiday, fading into the white-out of the picture as they  do, might be taken as a metaphor for the emptiness of melancholia.

But these interpretations are, as note, entirely subjective. Whether you opt to see then or prefer to take  the presented pieces purely as an expression of Second Life’s multifaceted beauty really doesn’t matter; this is Second Life photography rendered as art in a manner that is genuinely captivating and worth visiting.

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The digital mastery of Chuck Clip in Second Life

Elven Falls Art Collective, November 2022: Chuck Clip

Chuck Clip has perhaps been most widely known as a tireless promoter and curator of art in Second Life through his Sinful Retreat regions, which have housed a stunning mix of personal art as well as exhibitions and a home for both 2D and 3D artists from across the platform and the world at large. However – and as I’ve noted in the past in these pages – he is himself an accomplished artist in the physical world and in Second Life (where he has also exhibited widely, if often quietly), working in a range of digital mediums, including prims, which he still sculpts today in preference to using mesh and external-to-SL tools like Blender.

I’ve long been attracted to Chuck’s work, particularly his 2D art, because of its powerful expressiveness, and his ability to take and mix a range of digital techniques to create pieces of art that are visually captivating and impactful whilst carrying messages of social conscience either directly or through more esoteric means using the surreal, the fantastic and the dark – elements which may be born in part out of his own life path – to offer insights into the human psyche, love, life, death, religion, and the (my term here) ambivalent nature of the human condition.

Elven Falls Art Collective, November 2022: Chuck Clip
I went to Rochester Institute of Technology initially for medical illustration. After set backs with mental illness, I returned to school, graduating from duCret School of Art for graphic design. Aside from a few small shows in local galleries, mostly I freelanced to make ends meet … My 2D work is created mostly digital using a variety of methods, from photography, to digital painting, to compositing, and more recently, using artificial intelligence to enhance and evolve these pieces into something entirely new. 

– Chuck Clip

Many of these aspects of Chuck’s work can be seen and appreciated at Elven Falls Art Collective, owned and operated by operated by Ant (AntoineMambazo) and Aires Hax, where the main gallery is currently given over to an extensive exhibition of chuck’s art across its two floors and which opened on November 18th, 2022.

Elven Falls Art Collective, November 2022: Chuck Clip

Starting with the two pieces facing visitors as they enter the gallery’s foyer and progressing right throughout the seven halls (three on the lower floor, four on the upper, reached via the foyer elevator) this is a veritable tour de force of artistry at its finest.  Each and every piece is layered both in terms of its physical composition and its meaning / interpretation. Some aspects of the pieces offer might disturb the sensitive; other might upset the deeply religious – but all will challenge and give pause for thought as to the statements each carries.

The narratives found within the offered works may be as direct as highlghting the role of formalised religion has often played fomenting war, death, and destruction (the entire upper rear hall of the gallery); or more subtle reflections on human nature  – such as the mindset setting behind the avatars we encounter in Second Life (Behind the Avatar, within the lower floor, right-side hall) or the fact that as evolved as humanity might appear, we are as a race still prone to the drive of the primeval within us (Modern Man, within the lower floor right-hand hall).

Elven Falls Art Collective, November 2022: Chuck Clip

Each of the seven halls in the gallery also offers a 3D sculpture by Chuck. Each offers something of a reflection of the core themes to be found within the 2D art presented within it (perhaps most powerfully through Holy War, again to be found in the gallery’s upper rear hall); however, they also stand as a statement to artistic expression in Second Life, as Chuck also notes in his biography:

As a prim sculptor I’m largely self taught. I learned by trial and error and by going to places where the works of the old prim sculptors are still shown, examining them for hours on end just trying to figure out what they did to achieve certain effects. I am forever indebted to the old prim sculptors, for they paved the way for people like me. It is their legacy that I try to perpetuate as prim sculpture slowly but surely becomes a lost art in SL. Second Life has provided us with this wonderful medium, and it is my hope that one day it becomes recognized again for the greatness it can achieve.

Chuck Clip

Elven Falls Art Collective, November 2022: Chuck Clip

Bold, emotionally-charged, rich in narrative and marvellously enfolding digital and virtual artistry, Chuck Clip is a genuine maestro of digital art, and his exhibition at Elven Falls Art Collective stands as a powerful underscoring of this fact.

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The Face of Beauty in Second Life

Carmel Art Community: Hermes Kondor – The Face of Beauty

The Carmel Art Community is home to many SL artists, offering both boutique studio spaces in which they can display / sell their work, and regular art-related events through the year. It’s a community I’ve covered in terms of facilities and exhibitions in the past in these pages – and will continue to do so. However, for this piece I want to focus on just one newly-opened exhibit, as it is focused on an tool that is fast becoming very popular with artists the world over, and one I’ve mentioned rather a lot of late: Midjourney AI art generator.

The exhibition in question is The Face of Beauty, by Hermes Kondor. Comprising a total of 14 pieces, it has attracted me due to the manner in which Hermes has used Midjourney;  one that is somewhat different to the exhibitions featuring its use I’ve so far mentioned in these pages.

Carmel Art Community: Hermes Kondor – The Face of Beauty

As  I’ve mentioned previously, Midjourney utilises descriptive text and text terms to curate together / generate images. The results can be far ranging, from almost perfectly capturing the artist’s intent in the most realistic of fashion, to entirely abstract or impressionistic results, depending on what is defined. For example, “/imagine a city in Japan at night” will result in something close to the description, whereas, “/imagine a knight in battle, cinematic, epic, detailed, octane render, intricate” may result in something more abstract – or at at least, unexpected.

For the images presented in The Face of Beauty, Hermes has used his own descriptions – or as he terms it, “personal concept and prompts”, then taking the results and further processing them using PhotoShop. The result is the most remarkable collection of head-and-shoulder portraits of women from around the world, dressed in period / floral / regional dress. Such is the craft involved – and allowing from the human touch in post-processing, it is difficult to comprehend these were images defined by the use of algorithms rather than captured on film or committed to canvas in oil.

Carmel Art Community: Hermes Kondor – The Face of Beauty

To describe these pieces further is to defeat the objective of having them displayed by the artist; therefore I’ll leave you with the images here as a taste and suggest you pay a visit and witness The Face of Beauty first-hand.

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