Visiting La Maison d’Aneli’s new home in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Eylinea and Desy Magic

La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante, relocated mid-year to a new home in the skies of VeGeTal PLaNeT. In making the move, the gallery space has also been redesigned, the former two-level build giving way to a more labyrinthine space that retains the open plan nature of the former venue whilst also making one’s passage through it more interesting by splitting individual display spaces across multiple levels, both “up” and “down” relative to one another, linked by stairways and walkways, together with a number of individual display spaces – all of which work together to encourage exploration and discovery.

At the time of my visit, a new set of exhibitions was due to open on Wednesday, September 18th, featuring work by: Eylinea, Akim Alonzo, Desy Magic, Jolielle Parfort, Megan Prumier, Olympes Rhode, and Moki Yuitza, all of whom present a rich mixing of 2D and 3D art. While all are opening at the same event at 12:30 pm SLT, I have to admit that I was drawn to dropping in ahead of time after receiving personal invitations to see the exhibits by Akim and Moki.

La Maison d’Aneli: Akim Alonzo

Located in one of the individual galley halls, Akim presents The Matrix, a series of images he’s created based around his love of The Matrix movies. While some of them have previously been displayed at Akim’s own gallery (see: Water and a Matrix: reflections on life by Akim Alonzo), I was drawn back to them because of both their captivating nature and because they are so nuanced and layered. Not only do they offer an interpretation of the manifold memes on the shaping of reality as found within the films and as we can create for ourselves within SL; they also present a commentary on identification – that perennial theme common to Second Life -, as I noted back in April when writing about these images:

Within these pictures is a subtle reminder that, no matter how hard we might try to distance self from character within SL, no matter what the roles we play in-world, the backstories we build; the fact remains that facets of our own natures, our own identities, will be impinged on those characters. They are inevitably a projection of self into the virtual. What’s more, their daily encounters and experiences within the virtual realm equally reflect and inform upon our physical selves. Thus, we have a genuinely visceral intertwining between the “real” and the “virtual”.

La Maison d’Aneli: Moki Yuitza

Moki also has one of the individual gallery spaces to present a 3D installation entitled Ascension. This is a mobile piece offering an interpretation of the subject matter title – the ability for us to ascend our current state mentally, spiritually or potentially physically. Beautiful to witness, this is also an interactive piece, with poseballs available for those wishing to participate in the installation.

Within the more open areas of the gallery space, I found myself drawn to Eylinea’s 2D and 3D animated art; this being the first time – at least that I can remember – I’ve seen her work on public display. There are intricate and fascinating, drawing a number of approaches – geometric, fractal, and abstract to produce some fascinating pieces.

La Maison d’Aneli: Jolielle Parfort

When visiting the gallery, I do recommend following a certain order to progress through the exhibits. From the landing point provided, take the stairs (on the left as you look out over the gallery) down to the main hall space to visit the individual exhibition space housing Moki’s Ascension. After this, explore the open spaces on their various levels and the hall containing Akim’s The Matrix, before moving to the final individual hall, home to Jolielle Parfort’s always engaging art drawn from Second Life.

This route doesn’t give any deeper context for the exhibits – each stands on its own merits -, but it will offer a logical path through the gallery and the exit point tucked into the hall featuring Jolielle’s work. From there is is then possible to visit the other exhibition areas around la Maison d’Aneli, including region holder vroum Short’s visually captivating Mirror (which I’ve also previously written about). All of these spaces are equally worthy of a visit, but which will be subject for other articles in this blog.

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An engaging pot pourri of art at Focus Gallery in Second Life

The Exploratorium, Focus Gallery – MBTY

Focus Magazine’s gallery space is constantly evolving, something that makes any repeat visit both interesting and enjoyable, both for the art on display and to see what is happening in general. My latest visit was in part a reflection of this, as I wanted to see the latest addition to the gallery’s exhibition space: the Exploratorium of Art.

Located at the southern end of the gallery’s skybox space, the Exploratorium presents an “underground” exhibition space for artists where they can display and – if they wish – sell their work.

The Exploratorium, Focus Gallery – Loegan Magic

It is a semi-permanent exhibition – by that I mean, they can exhibit as long as they feel they would like to or until they run out of fresh content, and artists replenish the work at least every month. Ideally, artists will be members of the group and have an interest in participating in the community.

– Focus Magazine Gallery co-owner Angela Thespian, discussing the Exploratorium

Currently, spaces within the Exploratorium are offered to artists on the basis of direct invitation, or as a result of names being passed on by other artists within the community; there is no fee charged to artists for mounting an exhibition.

The Exploratorium, Focus Gallery – Wanderer

Some 16 spaces are offered in the exhibition hall, with some familiar names on display at the time of my visit, including Anibrm Jung, CybeleMoon, Focus co-owner, PatrickofIreland, as well as two or artists whose work I was seeing for the first time. Together, those currently displaying present a rich mix of landscape and avatar studies

Alongside of the Exploratorium is the Focus Artist in Residence (FAIR) gallery, which at the time of my visit featured the work of Jos Loll, Finn Somerset, Kaleb Avedon and Bryce Sun. These are, as with the June FAIR exhibition I reviewed (see: Focus Gallery in Second Life, June 2019). Having witnessed his first exhibition just a couple of months back, I was particularly pleased to see a further display of work by Kaleb Avedon – who is also a gifted live performer in Second Life.

Focus Gallery -Doc Romano

The main gallery space, located in the focus office building, features an exhibition of work by Doc Battitude. I admit to being more familiar with Doc via the region designs of CandleWood (see: Touring CandleWood in Second Life, March 2019) and Iona Shores (see: Exploring Iona Shores in Second Life, June 2019).

When it comes to his art, Doc offers an eye for detail and framing that easily matches that see within CandleWood and Iona Shores and demonstrated by his partner, AdalynneReed. The images here focus primarily on male and female avatars, particularly on the upper level of the gallery space, while the lower level includes a selection of landscape pieces. The latter are, for me, eye-catching, but I must confess The Windmill and The lighthouse Tale particularly captivated me.

Focus Gallery -Doc Romano

Rounding-out the exhibitions on offer during my visit is an outdoor selection of art called The Happiness Photo Walk, featuring images and photos from Second Life and the physical world, taken by Feature group members of things that make them happy. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a lot of these feature dogs, although I was a little surprised that only one featured one of our Ruling Overlords – a grey cat looking suitably unimpressed!

Focus Gallery continues to engage with the art on display, and with a developing programme of art-related events and activities, including talks and discussions by artists, the gallery is a recommended destination for all those supportive of art in Second Life.

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Art vignettes at Solo Arte in Second Life

Solo Arte, September 2019

Currently open at Solo Arte is an art garden created by Terrygold and MelaniaBis that features the work of invited artists displayed in a series of pods. At the time of my visit, the garden featured the work of CioTToLiNa Xue, Dekka Raymaker, Annalisa Muliaina, and Terrygold, together and an exhibition of art by Magda Schmidtzau. These are individual exhibits, rather than a combined installation – Magda’s art being the most recent addition. As noted, Each artist has their work displayed in an individual pod, with the the pods either placed on, or close to, the garden’s lawn.

In this, the setting has something of a feel of the Explore and Enjoy exhibition from 2018, also designed and curated by Terrygold and MelaniaBis (see:  Solo Arte: “explore and enjoy” in Second Life), albeit on a more modest scale. I have no idea if further pods will be added given the available space, although there appears to be room for more, if required. As it is, the four available at the time of my visit made for a contrasting group of 2D and 3D displays.

Solo Arte – Magda Schmidtzau (l) and CioTToLiNa Xue (r) – September 2019

Truth be told, I don’t have too much to say about the individual exhibits, as they all tned to speak for themselves. CioTToLiNa offers New Trips, which carries something of an echo of her piece from Explore and Enjoy, while Terrygold presents  a piece from her 2018 installation, Rusted Farm (see: A Rusted Farm in Second Life), while Magda’s 2D art is, as always, captivating in it richness of avatar studies.

However, the reality is these are art vignettes that should be seen for themselves – and in the case of Dekka’s, tried, as it is interactive – so I’ll leave you yo pay them a visit.

Solo Arte, Dekka Raymaker – September 2019

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Crossing Over and Night Walks in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Crossing Over and Night Walks

Open from September 10th, 2019 at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery curated by Dido Haas, are two independent – yet in some ways complimentary – exhibitions by two gifted artists. Crossing Over features a 3D installation by Kaiju Kohime located in the middle of one of the gallery’s two arms, while Night Walks presents a further series of Melusina Parkin’s unique studies of Second Life. Both installation and imagery offer a richly layered environment in which thought is strongly provoked.

Crossing Over is the second installation Kaiju is presenting since his return to Second Life (his first being a collaborative piece with Electric Monday and entitled Orizuru (which you can read about here). It forms, in the words of the exhibition’s introduction, a commentary on the changing face of society’s thinking and structure:

The vertical small worlds we used to live in, illustrated by male white religious oppression, are slowly tilting towards a more horizontal and more human engagement. This installation is about the continuing struggle between verticalism and a horizontal way of thinking and being, about the masks we put on to protect ourselves from our mirror image.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Crossing Over

The white-dominated element of religion (Christianity) is clearly symbolised by the main structure of the piece, which forms the framework of a great church. Within it, at the chancel, multiple white crosses float over the wireframe bust of a man as tendrils of light (thought / understanding / realisation?) fall from an angled blue cross to strike a mask that deflects them away – although it is showing signs of crumbling and breaking under their persistence.

It’s a clear and concise statement concerning religious oppression through the implementation of doctrine over belief / understanding. The white crosses stand as bars rigidly defining the dogma and the vertical nature of “white” Christianity as it is so sadly practised by some, wherein matters so often defined as “right” or “wrong” in terms of race, colour, gender and sexuality (perhaps more so in this present era than more recent times past). Meanwhile, the blue cross and the tendrils of light reflect that shift in thinking from dogma and vertical superiority towards the more compassionate, humanistic (and perhaps even more Christ-like?) “horizontal” view that we are in fact all equal; thus underlining the use of race, colour, gender and  sexuality by some as masks and shields by which they seek to hold themselves apart from, and over, others.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Crossing Over

Night Walks, meanwhile, offers a series of images that take us on “journeys into a dark world”. As the introduction notes:

Streets are empty in the night. At 3 or 4 am we can walk around without meeting people (just somebody who is “still” or “already” there, according to the words of the great Italian writer Italo Calvino, a night owl or a worker). So, we can look at buildings, parked cars, windows, street lamps and benches as they are the true inhabitants of that dark world.

Thus we are offered a series of night-time images taken from around Second Life offered in Melu’s unique perspective where she uses minimalism and close focus to tremendous effect. These are images that offer not so much a picture of a location but a glimpse into a world; sharply defined and focused they might be in their composition, but behind each one of them sits an entire story into which the imagination can fall.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Night Walks

Empty streets at night can be both enticing and frightening. We can be alone, even when just beyond the few inches of stone or brick that may separate us from the interior of house or apartment building, we know there are others, sleeping peacefully or – if lights are still to be seen through curtailed windows – going about their lives as we tread the pavements outside. Thus, we can wrap ourselves in a cloak of our own thoughts without fear of interruption or distraction.

But at the same time, the streets late at night can be unsettling: the familiar can be redrawn by the simple fall of light and shadow; doorways that by day might be welcoming can by night become places of menace. Thus – and again as the liner notes state, “Serenity and fear live together in the dark and empty streets. Which of them wins, depends on our mood. In the night the dark enchanting forest of the city becomes the landscape where the contrasting sides of our souls live.”

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Night Walks

And it is in this contrasting sides of the soul that the link is formed between Night Walks and Crossing Over is formed. It is said that it is in the depths of night that one can most clearly hear the voice of God – or the voice of conscience, if you prefer. That quiet, insistent voice of challenge against dogma that cannot be silenced by the distractions of daytime life or deflected by the masks we might otherwise wear when not so deeply alone, and which calls into question our structure doctrine of thinking and encourages us towards a more open  – dare I say “horizontal” view of the world around us.

The symbolism within and between both Crossing Over and Night Walks is both rich and powerful, offering multiple ways to interpret each as individual pieces and as interconnected exhibits (there is something of a symbolism for death in Crossing Over, for example, and the small hours of the night as seen in Night Walks are said to be the time when death visits the most – ideas which can taken interpretation of both into a whole new dimension).

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Night Walks

In this, I could go on to write at length on both, but I’ll resist putting words into the artist’s mouths and ideas into your heads. Instead, I would encourage you to go to Nitroglobus and view both, and allow them to jointly speak to you. Both Night Walks and Crossing Over officially open at 12:00 noon SLT on Tuesday, September 8th, 2019.

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Cica’s Silly in Second Life

Cica Ghost – Silly, September 2019

On Sunday, September 8th, Cica Ghost opened the latest in her monthly installations – and it is simply wonderful in its light-heartedness.

Silly is just that: a marvellous retinue of silly characters in a lush green landscape full of whimsy that would right at home in a children’s story or a scene in The Beatles Yellow Submarine. All of which is wrapped in an About Land joke by Cica:

Q: What is a cat’s favourite colour?
A: PURRRR-ple.

Cica Ghost – Silly, September 2019

Across the vivid grass, two-dimensional shoots of many different hues periodically rise in bursts of speed growing, shoots forming as they do so. Except instead of becoming flowers, the buds they sprout become “fingers”, turning the plants into hands that wave in greeting before they descend back into the ground. Fluttering over these are similarly colourful and equally two-dimensional butterflies, their faces lit by happy grins.

There are no trees here; instead huge mushrooms rise over the landscape, casting broad, umbrella-like shadows, while the hump-backed hills are littered with boxes that have their own role to play. It is, in a word, a happy place, rich in humour. but it is not the scenery – whether in two-dimensions or three – that capture and hold the attention; it is the major characters within it.

These are a marvellous mix of the seemingly ordinary – cow-like creatures atop a hill and worm-like characters – to the quite bizarre. Some additionally have more than the usual allocation of heads or expected number of legs, but all of them would be perfectly at home within an animated film – a feeling that has added depth courtesy of the music stream Cica provides for the installation, which should definitely be played during a visit!

Cica Ghost – Silly, September 2019

As with all of Cica’s installations, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the setting – places to sit, places to dance, and more. Just mouse-over the boxes scattered around and click when you see the sit icon. Where you end up might surprise you; one box certainly offers a new meaning to the term “in the belly of the beast”, while another might leave you feeling lighter than air! There’s also a free gift you can use to take to the skies and become an airborne participant in things.

Cica’s builds always offer something attractive. Sometimes they come with fun and frivolity, like Silly, others can be more thought-provoking or carry a narrative. It is this constant mixing of ideas and approaches that always made her installations worthy of time and attention. They are also why Cica is one of Second Life’s treasured artists.

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The Overwhelm: Animesh and expressive art in Second Life

Ribong Gallery: The Overwhelm

Santoshima recently extended a personal invitation to me to view the latest exhibition at his Ribong Gallery. Entitled The Overwhelm, the installation is by Meiló Minotaur, and it presents a layered, animated piece that marks – for me, anyway – the first art installation to use Animesh within its presentation.

This is actually a difficult piece to quantify. In part this is due to the minimalism involved – a series of blocked-out spaces intended to represent a house; it’s also because viewing it, one perhaps gravitates away from the provided description towards an alternative possible interpretation.

The Overwhelm is both a house and a stage, where private life presents itself in its slow, disturbing anguish. This animated installation is about family, and about the overbearing weight of being responsible for a new life, about disconnection, excruciating loneliness, and the shared commonness of this experience.

– CapCat Ragu, explaining the Overwhelm on behalf of Mieló Minotaur

Ribong Gallery: The Overwhelm

The term “new life” suggests this is a piece about the anxiety surrounding a forthcoming birth; the setting suggests something else: the anxiety felt when a child has failed to return home as expected. This interpretation fits the later comment in the description, which defines the colours and tone of the setting as,”distressing mood, with an implication of imminent violence”.

But for me, there is a third interpretation: a couple who have in fact lost their child and are both surrounded by memories of  that child in the form of the haunting wall images, and trapped within the simmering tension of loss, blame and recrimination. All of which, wrapped within that sense of grief, is waiting to explode outwards in anger and violence toward whichever of them gives cause through a wrong action or word.

Ribong Gallery: The Overwhelm

The Animesh models give a physical dimension to the atmosphere of anxiety, looming anger, anguish and hurt through their pacing, head movements, and through their shape. The exaggerated points of the male figure’s shoulders convey a sense of hunch-shouldered annoyance as he strides in his place, for example.

Curious, involved, oddly attractive, The Overwhelm is open through until the end of the month.

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