Jeanie (jeanienabottle) is the manager of Art Korner gallery in Second Life. – and she is also an excellent photographer-artist herself. Proof of this can currently be seen – for a while longer at least – via an exhibition of her work on display at KonectART Gallery.
Entitled Wishes andWanderings, for anyone who is already tired of snow, snow, and more snow in regions, it might be a welcome harkening back to summer days and times outdoors or the warm colours of early autumn.
What I particularly like about Jeanie’s art is that whilst most of us (myself included) tend to keep to a single frame size when exhibiting their art for a sense of uniformity, she is not afraid to mix her canvas sizes, offering pieces that are cropped to precisely the narrative she wishes to present.
Thus we have marvellous pieces such as Plough, sitting against a backdrop of a 1940s/50s vintage pick-up truck; it captures a sense of history down the decades, from the era of the horse as the engine of the farm, to the era of the internal combustion engine through the opening decades of the 20th century.
Elsewhere, Jeanie provides more panoramic pieces that capture an entire landscape or the beauty of flowers sitting in the sun and all points between. Take, for example, the marvellous pairing of Peace; within it is a soft sense of autumnal comfort and romance. Throughout the selection are pictures that offer tales of childhood, times past, and stories of possible mystery (Summerland).
For someone who notes in her Profile that she specialises in avatar-centric studies, through Wishes and Wanderings Jeanie demonstrates she has a gifted eye for landscape and natural images and for cropping, together with a lightness of touch in post-processing that is utterly engaging.
Having opened on November 17th, 2021, I believe Wishes and Wanderings will be around for another couple of weeks – and it is an exhibition that genuinely should not be missed. To reach it, take the elevator alongside the landing point.
November 25th marked the opening of a new exhibition at the Kondor Art Centre, curated by Hermes Kondor, of a themed selection of images and words by Lika Cameo (LikaCameo) that is utterly extraordinary in its presentation of art, introspection / reflection and in its presentation style.
One Thousand Wings takes as its foundation, the major part of a quote from Virginia Woolf:
[Lock up your libraries if you like;] but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
– Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
Within that essay – the result of two lectures she delivered in October 1928 to the women’s constituent colleges of Newnham and Girton at Cambridge University, England – Woolf sought to explore social injustices and comment on women’s lack of free expression that existed at the time. This quote is joined by a verse by artist Erin Hanson:
There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask “What if I fall?” Oh but my darling, What if you fly?
– Erin Hanson
While there are some core against various views Woolf expresses within that essay, Lika uses the quote from her essay, and the words by Hanson to explore what it means to freely express emotions in a century that has started to feel as if our freedoms are being increasingly being constrained by intolerance and when life has been constrained by a global pandemic, complete with a layering of what freedom means to her.
In doing this, Lika presents trios of avatar studies, all utilising the same pose and with a motif of wings, each piece finished individual to its partners. This approach leads to three images that, whilst all identical in terms of posing and motif, offer three pieces that offer a vastly different sense of depth, focus and emotions.
Accompanying them is a piece of prose / blank verse (by either Lika or possibly Zakk Bifrandt, it’s not entirely clear) that offers an outlook / sense of emotion or thought that works to both complement and compliment the images.
Complement, because the text can be taken as a whole with each version of the image and the trio as a whole, forming pairings with each image, working with the subtle differences in presentation and finish to tell a unique story of reflection / emotion. Compliment, because whether taken as pairings or as set of four panels, they together form a whole, works balancing image(s). Each set of images is further reflected in animated double-sided panels that offer a further, changing take on the sets.
As expressions of freedom, these image carry a powerful metaphor in the use of birds and butterflies to express the freedom of thought taking flight, as captured in Erin Hanson’s words. As reflections of emotion and release in a time when were are under pressure to conform or keep our feelings under wraps, this is an incredibly powerful series of images. More particularly they stand as insightful, emotive reminders that it is so easy to become trapped within ourselves – something that Lika expresses beautifully through her own words:
Often our thoughts tangle around the soul, forging our prisons, never grasping that we are always the key to our infinite free will.
As demonstrations of art and how to use lighting, colour, tone and other post-processing techniques to impart a range of emotional responses to a single image, One Thousand Wings is equally as powerful an exhibition; and while I’ve oft said this – it is an exhibition that should be seen and appreciated.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge admirer of Sisi Biedermann and her art. The way she is constantly shifting her style and focus means that she offers one of the broadest and most engaging ranges of art to be found in Second Life, and her exhibitions invariably offer something new to appreciate and admire.
This is certainly the case with her exhibition at Raging Graphix Gallery, operated and curated by Liv (RagingBellls). Occupying the upper floor of the gallery, this is selection of art that comes in two parts: within the main are of the exhibition floor are thirteen pieces collected under the title Dusk & Dawn, with five further pieces located at the top of the stairwell leading into the exhibition space.
As the name suggests, Dusk & Dawn presents a mix of images between them representing early mornings and sunsets – although such a simple description does not do these pieces any justice at all. This is a gourmet selection of digital art pieces that mix city skylines and coastal scenes that have a richness of colour and depth that is extraordinary.
The skylines concerns are pretty much instantly recognisable, with those of New York offering unique takes on some familiar landmarks, whilst the Golden Gate is perfectly framed in a hazy, misty morning sky that many will be familiar with from film, television and photographs but which is here given a new twist through the use of colour that gives a warmth of colour whilst suggestion of a cool morning.
Meanwhile, within the coastal scenes are views filled with the warmth of sunset that carry the imagination to exotic places with warm seas and long, cool cocktails waiting to be enjoyed before a sunset walk along the beach. There are also images that bring to mind early mornings and times when motor fishing boats might be passing on their way to make their catch, or when we might walk the banks of a river or along the shoreline of a lake as the Sun is just high enough to start burning away the morning mist.
With some of the images finished with a touch of vignette, the use of soft tones and layered to offer an etching-like sense of texture and physical depth, these are genuinely captivating pieces.
Etched finishes are also much in evidence in the five pieces at the top of the stairway. These are taken from Sisi’s collection of digital art capturing the world of garden nature. Each features a central colour – pink, white, green, red and black – all joined by the word Magic. Each is an exquisite collage of colour, beautifully finished and presented.
It is hard to see Sisi’s art and not become caught up within it, such is the beauty to be found within each and every piece she produces. Miss this exhibition at your peril!
Currently underway at Campbell Coast art centre, is their autumn 2021 Art Walk exhibition, featuring an outdoor display of art by a number of artists, and the opportunity to tour the study galleries within the village.
The featured artists for the Art Walk are: Eylinea Seabird (eylinea), Ourane NuevaVida (ourane), Loony Carabosse – Moretto (louna.perl), Samanthe Mirror, Traci Ultsch and Zia Sophia (zia.branner). Between they, they present a contrasting selection of art. Zia, as the closest to the landing point, presents to of her abstract painting from the physical world that are captivating in their use of colour, tone, contrast and line. Alongside of her, Samanthe presents four avatar studies, nicely balanced between colour and monochrome pieces that offer narratives on an individual’s life, from enjoying the simple pleasure of a hot drink to moments of dance and delight or of quiet introspection.
Loony’s images, meanwhile make use of soft tones and carry a distinctly avian theme across two of them, whilst one presents a layered digital media piece. Beside these, Eylinea’s work is a stark contrast, giving us three simply marvellous digital pieces that are fabulously minimalist or abstracted, and gently animated in a manner that is genuinely captivating and calming.
Traci Ultsch is an artist who repeatedly pushes herself with her art; she has a fearlessness when it comes to experimentation and diving into different styles and genres. Her work has embraced avatar studies, landscapes, photography, whilst also offering personal statements on life and society. Here, bracketing the door to her studio gallery, she presents four stunningly abstract expressions of nature.
Ourane is an artist I’m not overly familiar with, but her paintings at Campbell Coast immediately captivated me. These are richly expressive pieces, their use of colour and line as unique as their subject matter.
As noted, the art walk also offers the opportunity to visit the boutique galleries of the other artists exhibiting at Campbell Coast as well, comprising Bijoux (BijouxBarr), Michiel Bechir, eta (etamae) and Jeanie (jeanienabottle), all of whom definitely worth viewing.
If it seems my recent art reviews have been somewhat focused on artists who bring their work from the physical world into Second Life, then there is a simple explanation: it’s because they are. Admittedly, some of it is simply down to the manner in which I receive invitations or find them within the various art group notices I frequently check; however, it is also because – contrary to the statement I’ve heard made more than once – I think SL is actually a very good medium for artists to present their physical world art as much as it is for presenting in-world images.
Take Bif Mopp, for example, whose work is now being displayed at the AmandaT Tamatzui Gallery, owned and curated by AmandaT Tamatzui, who is herself an accomplished professional artist in the physical world who hails from New Zealand. Bif is a most extraordinary artist who dedicates a good portion of his talent and portfolio to aviation paintings, capturing aircraft, military and civil and of times past and times present. And he does so with amazing skill and imagery, perfectly capturing his subjects in all of their majesty and / or going about their business. Such accuracy, in fact that his work has been displayed not only in galleries, but also aviation museums – and even the office of a former US Air Force Chief of Staff.
As an aviation enthusiast myself, I was immediately captivated by the paintings presented within this exhibition, not only because of their technical accuracy – I challenge anyone with a love of aviation through the 20th century not to be able to recognise any of the aircraft here, even when viewed at a distance, such is the skill with which Bif have portrayed them – but because each image carries within it an entire story of an aircraft, and / or its era and or / or pilot.
Take, for example, 27 August 1941 (which I’ll state up-front is my favourite among favourites within this selection). At first glance, it is very obviously a Supermarine Spitfire Mark IID, possibly from the Battler of Britain. However, the markings reveal it to be aircraft P7308 of No. 71 (Eagle) squadron, one of three squadrons so-called as they were formed with volunteer pilots from the United States.
In particular, this aircraft was flown by Pilot Officer William R. Dunn, a man so determined to fly with the RAF, he lied his way into the Canadian Army (claiming he was from Moosejaw, Saskatchewan!), then once in the UK sought a transfer to the RAF, making a “pen slip” on his application form, so that it was believed he had 560 flying hours under his belt (500 being required to be accepted for pilot training), rather than his actual 160. In particular, on August 27th, 1941, Dunn’s squadron was escorting RAF light bombers over France when they engaged with enemy fighters. Dunn took two out before his own aircraft – and Dunn himself – took hits, forcing him to return across the channel and a trip to hospital. He eventually re-joined the war as a member of the US Army Air Force – and already recognised at the first American fighter Ace of WWII (and in conclusion, I’ll note that Dunn went on to a distinguished USAAF/USAF career and became an artist himself).
It’s a story that brings the image even more to life, as do the stories bound within other paintings here – such as the long tradition of Dallas Doll, (Buzz Job), the P51D Mustang flown by the 352nd Fighter Squadron, US 8th Air Force and which still flies today, a favourite of several aviation artists. Then there is Bunker Hill, with its Corsair fighter (as piloted by ace Lt. Dean Caswell), showing just how small and lonely the deck of an aircraft carrier can be on an ocean as big as the Pacific – and the relief felt on finding it in the fading light of day, a sentiment also shared by Almost Home. Elsewhere, US Mail evocatively captures the pioneering days of the US air mail service as exemplified by the men who flew the rugged Pitcairn Mailwing, specifically designed to ply US government airmail routes of the 1920s and 1930s, while a high-flying DC3 hails the aircraft that really kick-started mass passenger transport after the end of WWII.
Rounded-out by a trio of beautiful landscape / seacape, this is genuinely a superb exhibition, and SL aviators from across the grid (as well a lovers of art) really should come and see.
Now open at the Kondor Art Garden, curated by Hermes Kondor, is Illusion, an exhibition of 2D art by photographer-artist Suzen JueL (JueL Resistance). It offers an engaging range of pieces that mix styles and ideas to present images that are visually engaging and carry with them strong narratives.
Within these pieces might we find photo-collages, measures of surrealism, expressionism and more; stories with an edge of abstraction and / or the broad strokes of impressionism, some of which sit as dream states in their form and colour. Primarily produced within Second Life and richly post-processed, these are pieces that also encompass elements and images drawn from the physical world.
An intriguing aspect of several of the pieces is that rather than using a traditional avatar, Suzen presents a mannequin-like personage that, while female in form, offers us – male or female – the opportunity for greater association with it, and thus themes and emotions contained within the pieces where it is used.
With their focus on the mannequin presence, these particular images offer a sense of dual narrative. Backwards into Depths, for example offers the suggestion of taking a leap of faith. On the one hand, they colours stand in emphasis of the fact it is into the unknown we might jump whilst also presenting the sense of fear that such leaps often entail. Similarly, Monster at first seems to suggest the coming of a horror, a strange, looming creature that might well be in pursuit of us – but then on second look, it perhaps suggests we are the monster, looming forth to inflict something on the unwary.
Elsewhere the narrative is more direct, as with Whale Dreaming, a marvellous photo-collage that folds into itself considered elements of surrealism, impressionism and realism. Beside it, Hanging with the Zebra similarly offers a mix of surrealism and over-exposed expressionism that holds the eye before the magnificent Elephant awaits to again offer use entwined stands of narrative.
In their mixing of styles, narrative, these are pieces that live up to the title of the exhibition. Each gives us an illusion to ponder, be it directly through the image (again, I’d point to the likes of Whale Dreaming) or in the manner in which meaning and narratives might be seen to be intertwined to hold our attention, making it an engaging and captivating exhibition.