Captivated by FionaFei’s art in Second Life

FionaFei: Shuǐmò

Shuǐmò, or shuǐmòhuà (suiboku-ga in Japanese), is a type of East Asian ink wash painting that uses different concentrations of black ink to create an image. It first emerged in Tang dynasty China (618–907), before spreading to Japan (14th century), Korea and to India. Beside the use of black ink in place of colours, it is also marked by the emphasis of the brushwork to be on the perceived spirit or essence of the subject, rather than directly imitating its appearance.

It is also a form of art that has been quite marvellously brought to life by Second Life and physical world artist FionaFei as the basis of her latest art exhibition. This features a core element called Wo Men Dakai, which Fiona describes thus:

Wo Men Dakai (Chinese for “My Door Opens”) is an art installation I’ve created in the style of Chinese ink brush painting. The purpose of the space is for a role-play Firefly-based RP where my RP character YiLi graduates into a Registered Companion. However, the inspiration for the creation is from my own personal artistic journey in real life and in second life, and most of it really stems from who I am as an artist in both realities.

– FionaFei

FionaFei: Shuǐmò

While not everyone might be familiar with Joss Whedon’s (too) short-lived science fiction TV series Firefly (from which I freely admit taking my first name in Second Life!), having such knowledge is not s prerequisite for any visit to, or appreciation of, this installation.

From the landing point, visitors are invited to walk along unrolled scrolls of xuan paper, the traditional material for Shuǐmò painting. On these are painted the Chinese symbols for Wo Men Dakai as they point the way to a pair of great red doors. When touched, these will slowly open (just give them time) to reveal the gallery space proper.

FionaFei: Shuǐmò

This is a spherical space that is the embodiment of shuǐmò; a Chinese water garden wherein all the major features are produced as ink wash images / pieces: the bridge, the lilies floating on the water, the rocks on which the art is displayed, the overhead rocks from which water falls in black-and-white lines to fill the pool of the water lily garden.

FionaFei: Shuǐmò

Shuǐmò might be described as an ancient Oriental form of what we in the west call impressionism; a form of art where – as noted above – the aim is to capture the essence, not imitate the physical.

So, for example, when painting an animal, the ink wash painter seeks to present the animal’s temperament, not is muscles, sinews and bone structure. And so it is with the gallery structures here: the form and essential essence of the bridge, the lilies and surrounding plants are provided, while the intrinsic details: complete railings on the bridge, the details veins on leaves and petals is not so relevant.

This contrasts strongly with the art displayed in the space. This takes the form of two marvellous – and themselves – contrasting –  selections of art.

The first is a trio of 3D pieces, again in a traditional Chinese style bordering on shuǐmò, but which use add splashes of colour – red and green – that, together with the animations – bring a sense of life and vitalities to the pieces in an completely enticing manner.

The second is a beautiful set of charcoal on newsprint studies of the human body. These fourteen drawing offer the strongest contrast to the shuǐmò theme, presenting as they do a very western approach to anatomically detailed art featuring the human body, male or female – but which, through the use of charcoal in varying concentrations, nevertheless contain within them an echo of shuǐmò.

“I see life and my journey as a painting. It can be forever an evolving piece,” Fiona notes of her art. “At any given time, you think you’ve reached the end of it, but you can always add to it, layer it, and change it. In a sense, each brush stroke is like a footprint.”

In recognition of this, and as a part of the interactive nature of the exhibit, visitors are invited to take a selection of footprints (shoes, bare feet and paws), wear them, and leave their own marks (albeit temporary) as they “follow their own path” through the installation. There are also some koi carp gifts available at the landing point as well.

FionaFei: Shuǐmò

A truly marvellous exhibition by a wonderfully talented artist – but don’t just take my word for it. Go and see for yourself. My thanks to Pieni for the pointer!

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Sketches, paintings, photos and sculptures at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is hosting another intriguing exhibition of 2D and 3D art. With its opening having taken place on May 15th, the exhibition features Giovanna Cerise, Delalune Ella, McGrafite, Vroum Short, Tshirtkikill Straaf and Mathilde Vhargon.

For her 3D installation, Giovanna Cerise uses a quote from Italian writer and poet, Alda Merini, One lies on the back of the world and feels. It is the final line from Merini’s poem I like the verb “to feel”, one of a series of reflections on words, and the theme of the poem – that of feelings – is the core reflection of the elements of Giovanna’s installation.

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise

These start with a sculpture of a woman lying on her back bearing, appropriately enough, Ci si sdraia sulla schiena del mondo (“one lies on the back of the world”). Around this are pieces with titles intended to evoke emotional states: Waiting, Transcendence, Solitude, Eros. All of these are placed within a series of monochrome geometric forms that echo some of Giovanna’s previous installations and is something of a motif of her work.

Also on the same level of the gallery as Giovanna’s installation is a selection of Mathilde Vhargon’s digital paintings that mix an abstract approach with geometric pieces, most of which are created more-or-less as a stream of consciousness approach, rather that any “premeditated” approach, as Mathilde herself notes:

My paintings suggest themselves to me a little at a time without conscious planning. I often use small sections of them as materials to develop into new paintings … I love strong colours and flowing abstract forms. You will often find ambiguous suggestions that lead the viewer to imagine various possibilities and interpretations.

La Maison d’Aneli: Mathilde Vhargon

Sharing the same level of the gallery is another stunning selection of drawings by McGrafite, also known as Marisa Camelo, MC.

A physical world artist focusing on pencil-based drawings, I was first introduced to her work at the end of 2018 (see The art of MC Grafite in Second Life), when I noted there is only one word that can be used to describe it: striking; the selection of art presented at La Maison d’Aneli fully reinforces this fact.

Beautifully produced, with marvellously clean lines and presentation, these are drawing rich with life and vitality and – in the case of a couple at least – a hint of menace. Such is the beauty of McGraphite’s drawing I admit to being an admirer of her work since that first introduction in December 2018.

La Maison d’Aneli: McGraphite

Beautifully produced, with marvellously clean lines and presentation, these are drawing rich with life and vitality and – in the case of a couple at least – a hint of menace. Such is the beauty of McGraphite’s drawing I admit to being an admirer of her work since that first introduction in December 2018.

On the upper level of the gallery is an exhibition of art and photography by Lune (Delalune Ella). Again split between the main floor and the galleried mezzanine, the lower part of the exhibition features seven pieces of Lune’s digital art. These have a spiritual element to them, which is perhaps most noticeable in the pieces that include mandala-like rosette forms. Rich in vibrant colours, these are modern pieces that quickly captivate and engage.

La Maison d’Aneli: Dellalune Ella

Above them, Lune presents 13 photographs that appear to reflect some of Lune’s travels around the world, and within which a love of water is evident. Again, these are evocative pieces, expressive in their tone and presentation.

Across the hall are twelve pieces by yogib33r (Tshirtkikill Straaf). These are perhaps the most unusual pieces of art I’ve recently come across in Second Life, reproductions of yogib33r’s physical world art. Pen and ink (I believe), these are whimsical pieces that completely defy description, but have a unique charm and attraction about them that allows them to stand as pieces of modern art.

La Maison d’Aneli: Tshirtkikill Straaf

Rounding-out this ensemble exhibition is Mirrors a 3D installation by Vroum Short of Vegetal Planet fame. When visiting, it is essential you have the Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (Preferences > Graphics > make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked – you do not need to turn on shadows as well), and to set your viewer’s time of day to midnight.

As the name suggests, this is an installation – split between two levels – representing mirrors and reflective surfaces. The installation comprises a series of halls with mirror-like rooms containing static and animated pieces, some of which are designed to physically mirror one another. Created through the use of projectors, these are visually stunning effects – providing you have ALM enabled, as noted above. For those who are interested, the installation includes teleports to Vroum’s Vegetal Planet art region.

La Maison d’Aneli: Vroum Short

A further intriguing ensemble exhibition from one of my favourite SL galleries.

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Shattered Egos in Second Life

Lin C Art Gallery: Matt (Thompson)

Shattered Egos is the provocative title of an exhibition of art by Matt (MTH63), which opened on May 11th at the Lin C Art Gallery, curated by Lin Carlucci.

Also known as Matt Thomson in the physical world, Matt is a professional abstract artist and digital designer who, as well as producing some truly fabulous abstract pieces also has a quirky sense of humour, as witnessed by his bio liner notes:

Matt Thomson … approaches his art with innovation, fun and breakfast cereal. Matt believes that art should please the eye and make you feel like a man can paint in a straitjacket. He doesn’t take himself seriously, and his art shows a sense of fun and over dependency on sprouts and curry powder.

– Matt Thompson, describing himself

Lin C Art Gallery: Matt (Thompson)

To use a truism, the beauty of abstract art is oft in the eye of the beholder; or to put it another way, it’s not everyone’s cup of hot brown milky beverage. However, it is among the art forms I particularly enjoy, and I seriously doubt those visiting Shattered Egos will not be captivated by the 20+ pieces Matt presents here.

Rich in colour and contrast, these are pieces that demand exploration and appreciation. Each has a story to tell  – and I urge those visiting to allow each picture to tell its story  as they see it, before using mouse hover / a right click to reveal the name of each piece. By doing this, the manner in which the narrative may suddenly morph – or perhaps be confirmed – is as remarkable as the shifting, swirling colours present within the art.

Lin C Art Gallery: Matt (Thompson)

I’m not sure why the title Shattered Egos has been selected for this exhibition, but I suspect that it is in reflection of the fact that Matt’s work is ego-free. It’s clear from the irreverence he displays towards himself, together with the sheer expressiveness present in the images, it’s clear that each of these pieces has been created with a love of art and free expression, and not as a means of deep self-expression or personal reflection. Hence why, again in his bio liner notes, Matt quotes Oscar Wilde:

Art is the only serious thing in the world. And the artist is the only person who is never serious.

This further makes this selection of art richly engaging and well worth the time taken in visiting the gallery.

Lin C Art Gallery: Matt (Thompson)

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Ludi’s Untitled in Second Life

Galerie Alice: Ludi Taurus

Currently open through until the 16th June, 2019, is a cosy exhibition of art by French artist and photographer, Ludi Taurus called simply Untitled.

Host by the boutique Galerie Alice, curated by Alice (angedem), Untitled serves as a superb introduction of a photographer I’d not previously encountered; one who excels in telling stories through her self-portraits. Featuring just ten images, the exhibition is captivating in the depth of narrative each picture holds, from fantasy to action to what can only be seen as personal moments seemingly captured by the camera when the subject was unaware.

Galerie Alice: Ludi Taurus

From an alluring, single head and face portrait offered in monochrome, through to pure adrenaline-fuelled shots of a rain-soaked, motorbike-mounted gunfight, to a midnight period of introspection, these are images that powerfully convey emotions and engage the observer. Further depth is added to each on them in that, being untitled, other than what appears their date of creation, they leave us entirely free to interpret each image without any preconception, however incidental, a “proper” title might otherwise impart.

This is an alluring exhibition of photographic art, one – though I’ve said this before with exhibitions – that genuinely should not be missed.

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Raglan Shire Artwalk 2019

2019 Raglan Shire Artwalk

Raglan Shire, Second Life’s Tiny community once again throws open its doors to people from across the grid as participating artists and visitors to the annual Raglan Shire Artwalk.

This year marks the 14th Artwalk, which opened on Sunday, May 12th, and runs through until Sunday, June 16th. 2019. The event offers an opportunity not just to appreciate a huge range of art from both the physical and digital worlds, but to also tour the Shire regions and enjoy the hospitality of the Raglan Shire community.

2019: Raglan Shire Artwalk: Bear Silvershade

A non-juried exhibition, the Artwalk is open to any artist wishing to enter, and has minimal restrictions on the type of art displayed (one of the most important being all art is in keeping with the Shire’s maturity rating). All of this means that it offers one of the richest mixes of SL art displayed within a single location in Second Life, with 2D art is displayed along the hedgerows of the Shire’s pathways and tree platforms overhead and 3D art among the community’s parks.

Each year attracts over a hundred SL artist – and this year is no exception. The depth and range of art on display is guaranteed to keep visitors exploring the paths and walks around the through the hedgerows – and if walking proves a little much, there are always the caterpillar rides to ease the load on the feet.

2019 Raglan Shire Artwalk: Sydney Silken (l) and Temba (r)

Also, teleport boards are provided to help people find their way around the exhibition spaces, while balloons which offer rides around the region and through the art displays. However, given this is an opportunity to visit and appreciate Raglan Shire, I do recommend exercising your pedal extremities and doing at least some of your exploration on foot – just keep in mind people do have their homes in the regions as well.

Given the number of artists involved, there isn’t a published list of participants, but anyone interested in the world of SL art is bound to recognise some of the names of the artists here. The Artwalk is also a marvellous way to see art from both our physical and digital worlds and for catch artists both familiar and new to your eye. Just don’t try to see it all at once; the Artwalk is open for a month, which gives plenty of time for browsing and appreciating the art without feeling overloaded. Also, not all the artists set-up ready for the opening weekend, so visits spread over the month helps ensure you don’t miss anything.

2019 Raglan Shire Artwalk: Your’s Truly

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All of the Raglan Shire Artwalk regions are rated General)

Soul Portraits in Second Life

Itakos Project: Soul Portraits

Currently open at the Itakos Project, curated by Akim Alonzo, is an exhibition entitled Soul Portraits. Featuring the work of ten individual photographers and one couple, it’s an exhibition that evokes – for me at least – mixed feelings.

To frame the exhibition, it is easiest to quote the introductory note card:

With this exhibition we celebrate 4 years of life of the Soul Portraits-Itakos Art Gallery group on the Flickr platform, with more than 5700 photos published by about 250 photographers registered in the group. A collective exposition that focuses on female portraits, and the selected artists all have a particular and personal eye on the emotions that a second life avatar can express. Feminine looks that touch, sometimes deep and inextricable, or tender, half-closed or hidden eyes, looks that wander beyond or that stare at you, questioning your soul.

Itakos Project: Moloe Vansant

The selected participating artists for the exhibition are: Mr. S, Sonic, Roberta Barineaux, Miuccia Klaar, Katia Lavecchia, Charlie Namiboo, Izabela Navarathna, Maloe Vansant, Lula Yue, and the pairing of CFaleny and Moki Yuitza, who between them have a total of 30 images on display, with the majority having three images apiece within the exhibition.

I will admit that in viewing the works, I tended to have something of a personal bias; three of the artists participating in Soul Portraits – Mr. S, Charlie Namiboo and Moloe Vansant – never cease to fascinate me with their work; they have the ability to frame entire stories within their photographs I find incredibly alluring. As so it is the case here, where I immediately gravitated towards Maloe’s four pieces as they formed pair bracketing the three from Mr. S at one end of the gallery’s  Grey Pavilion.

Itakos Project: Akim Alonso

Which is not to say narrative isn’t present in any of the other pieces on offer; far from it; there are stories or threads of stories to be found within many of the pieces in the exhibit; and those that don’t perhaps carry a full narrative do convey emotions and provoke a subjective response – which as the liner notes indicate, is the goal of the exhibition.

However, I do confess to finding the similarity in approach to many of the images – a close focus on head shots sans broader background – coupled with their close proximity to one another, for me tended to lessen the overall impact of individual pieces.

But this aside, Soul Portraits is a further engaging exhibition at Itakos Project.

Itakos Project: Mr. S

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