A Million Freckles in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: A Million Freckles
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: A Million Freckles

“To be honest this exhibition was initiated because the January artist  I invited to exhibit her work at Nitroglobus couldn’t make it,” Dido Haas says in the introduction to an exhibition of her own photography, A Million Freckles, at the Nitroglobus Roof Gallery she curates. “I started making a few works and gradually got inspired. Hope you appreciate. It’s rather revealing I must admit, to show so much of your pixel skin.”

The result is 14 large format monochrome images which might be described as minimalist – as Dido notes, there is little use of background or props – which are sensual (nudity is apparent in some, so the exhibition might be considered NSFW in places), personal, revealing and engaging.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: A Million Freckles
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: A Million Freckles

Within the liner notes, Dido describes a conversation she had with a visitor who the gallery as she completed hanging the images. He asks her if her goal is to attract attention / admiration (presumably for herself rather than her work), and why she didn’t use a model. Her replies to the questions are that she’s not sure if attaining attention / admiration for herself is her goal, and that she doesn’t feel her abilities to frame and express moods and feelings through the use of a model.

I’d tend to agree with Dido on both counts. While these are undoubtedly refined and attractive images of self, it is the mood they evoke which attracts and engages, rather than necessarily how Dido reveals her body within each image. And while, give the use of pose systems, etc., could facilitate the same selection of photos on display, the fact that they are revealing Dido herself makes the expressions of mood and emotion within each of them that much deeper. more unique to her – and thus our own response is deepened knowing it is her revealing / exposing her own moods and sensuality.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: A Million Freckles
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: A Million Freckles

A Million Freckles will remain open through January.

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Saturation in Second Life

Saturation
Saturation

“I’ve chosen to play on the definition of the word “saturation” to encapsulate two of my favourite recurring themes: colour and water,” Freyja Merryman says of her exhibition, Saturation, now open at the Paris METRO Art Gallery.

“I often find myself using the allegorical and transportive nature of water to reflect emotion. In a similar way, with the use of colour I hope to be able to convey, perhaps, an emotional and physical reaction. A visceral way to experience  the stories I try to tell. I hope you enjoy them.”

Saturation
Saturation

Within the gallery, which has been decorated to resemble a watery environment – both above and below the waves, given the colour scheme and overall setting – Freyja offers 14 avatar studies, all of which have been photographed in Second Life, then painted and finished in GIMP. All are striking, with all but two featuring water in some degree, and several incorporating that saturation of colour she mentions in her introduction.

But there is more here as well. Freyja notes that since entering Second Life in 2008, she’s become fascinated trying to recreate the enchanting symbolism of the myths and fairy story illustrations which have been an influence in her life since her childhood. Sometimes this has given rise to dark pieces, other times sensual, romantic or erotic pieces, all of which reflect Freyja’s Second life in some way.

Saturation
Saturation

Given this, it is hardly surprising that each of these 14 images carries within it a strong sense of narrative – far more than a single tale, but the feeling that were we to step into any one of them, we would find ourselves within an entire folk tale or legend. There is a sense of wonder with each of them which draws the observer to each in turn, even with Drowned I and Drowned II, which also seem to be experiments in light, colour and angle, whilst Drowned III, completing the trilogy, offers perhaps the most open door into the tale being told within them.

Facing these across the gallery space are three nude studies which I can only describe as utterly bewitching, whilst the magic continues upstairs with eight further pieces – and I challenge anyone not to be captivated by The Reflecting Pool.  A superb exhibition, and one not to be missed.

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A year end recommendation for three art installations in Second Life

EVRE by Tahiti Rae - closing December 31st
EVRE by Tahiti Rae – closes December 31st

Second Life is an outstanding medium for presenting art, and 2016 has again seen a huge range of 3D, 3D and immersive art exhibitions and experiences presented to users, many of which I’ve been unable t include in these pages – my apologies to all of those I’ve missed.

While it may seem a little unfair given there is such a wealth of art available in Second Life, I’m taking this opportunity to point to three installations in particular which have caught my attention during the year. I’m doing so in particular with two because they will be closing on December 31st, having reached the natural end of their time in-world. However, all three are more than worth the time taken in visiting them, and so if you haven’t done so already, or if you did visit earlier in the year, I’d like to again offer them as destinations for your in-world time this holiday period.

Invictus
Invictus by Storm Septimus – closes December 31st, 2016

The first of these personal choices is Invictus by Storm Septimus, This is a stunning  visual interpretation of William Ernest Henley’s famous 1875 poem of the same name – although it was initially untitled for around the first 25 years of its existence. It is a stirring statement of our innate determination to overcome the adversities we face in life, no matter how dark, and that even with the portal of death awaiting us, we alone determine our fate.

As I note in my review, Storms design leads the visitor through scenes evoked by the words of Henley’s poem, guided by the verses themselves. The imagery throughout is powerful, reflecting not only the theme of the poem, but also a sense of Storm’s own experiences, which themselves add to the sense of immersion we experience. Across a wild stretch of water, reached via rowing boat (symbolic of the fact we are captains of our souls) sits the serene setting of a ruined cathedral. While outside of the poem itself, it is not out-of-place within Storm’s installation, providing as it does a place for contemplation and reflection, complete with symbolism reflective of the poem’s heart.

Preiddeu Annwn, designed and built by Hypatia Pickens, a professor of English at the University of Rochester,  New York, and her students, is a fabulous visualisation of the famous gnomic / philosophical Middle Welsh poem, Preiddeu Annwn (or Preiddeu Annwfn, “The Spoils of Annwfn“). As I noted in July 2016, its function is to provide an interactive means by which the poem and its themes can be explored and better understood, both within itself and with regards to broader medieval Welsh mythology and medieval literature. It is also an extraordinary piece of scholarly art.

The installation allows visitors to explore the poem through and open cycle of paths beautifully laid out in an underwater environment which presents a sense of entering the Otherworld of the poem. For those who follow the route through to the point of “following the waves” can visit a medieval studies library containing holding in all aspects of medieval literature, history, art and theology.

Preiddeu Annwn
Preiddeu Annwn

My final recommendation is another installation due to close on December 31st, having also reached the end of its allotted time within Second Life. It is Tahiti Rae’s EVRE, which opened in September, and formed the subject of an article in this blog shortly thereafter.

EVRE has been very much a living installation, host to numerous events and discussions since it opened, all of which have been reflective of the philosophical core of the installation: are we everywhere at all times?

As I noted at the time, Tahiti is one of the more thought-provoking, consistently engaging and visually aware immersive artists in Second Life, and this is amply demonstrated within the 13 environments present within EVRE, which conduct us through a study of consciousness, connectedness and time. Rich in content and ideas, it fully deserves exploration and consideration; if you haven’t done so already, I strong urge you to find time to visit it before the year’s end and immerse yourself – Just as I do with both Preiddeu Annwn and Invictus.

EVRE by Tahiti Rae - closes December 31st
EVRE by Tahiti Rae – closes December 31st

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A winter’s tale in Second Life

Un Conte d'Hiver
Un Conte d’Hiver

This is the time of year when Second Life – as I’ve mentioned before – is awash with winter landscape, and many of us are out and about photographing and filming them (you can expect a few more in these pages when I’ve caught up with myself 🙂 ). But what about images of real life winter scenes?

Nils Urqhart is currently exhibiting a series of his physical world photographs at the Serena Imagine Arts Centre under the title Un Conte d’Hiver (“A Winter’s Tale”) present some 29 (including the one in forming the entrance to the exhibit images of snow scenes captured in the Bugey region in eastern France, where it forms a part of the department of Ain. If, like me, you’re a Tour de France fan, you’ll recognise it as the home of the Col du Grand Colombier, one of the most punishing climbs of the tour.

Un Conte d'Hiver
Un Conte d’Hiver

The Col doesn’t feature in these images, however. Instead, what we are treated to are marvellous winter landscapes. Snow lies heavy and deep on the ground; it gives a frosted finish to trees and lies centimetres deep on rooftops and piled atop fence posts. Skies are overcast such that the horizon softens into them, the snow encouraging a gentle merger where in summer, green hills might will stand out sharply against blue skies.

Across this landscape, Nils has pictured rustic houses and barns and a beautiful church, all of which seem to huddling down against the snow and the cold, holding their heat and warmth tight within. Elsewhere, young people walk hand-in hand, stand on skis or throw snowballs, their bright coats contrasting loudly with the white snow surrounding them.

Un Conte d'Hiver
Un Conte d’Hiver

To call these images picturesque would be perhaps demeaning of them; they are quite stunning in their composition, so much so that one feels it is possible to step within them and scoop up the snow or leave fresh tracks across its pristine blanket. But there is something else here as well. Such is the refinement in these pictures, it feels they are further blurring the line between the physical and digital, as if some of them are of locations which can be found not only in Bugey, but also in Second Life.  My only disappointment is that the space in which they are displayed really doesn’t do them the justice they deserve.

However, if you are looking for images of winter and snow of a different nature to those reflecting regions of Second Life, I recommend this exhibit. Be sure to find your way to the centre of the exhibition and Nils’ Christmas greeting.

Un Conte d'Hiver
Un Conte d’Hiver

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An Abstract Line in Second Life

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

I first encountered the art of Morlita Quan in June 2016, when I visited her exhibition Organic Geometry (read here). I was at once fascinated and captivated by her work, so it was with delight that I recently had the opportunity to visit her gallery space in-world, Abstract Line Art Gallery, located over the region of Dax.

A physical world artist hailing from Spain and working under the name MorlitaM, Morlita’s artistic expression covers 2D and 3D art and music, and all three are very much reflected in her Second Life presence, where she exhibits her 2D work, creates 3D art and also plays music, often at the opening events for other artists and galleries she knows.

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

“The pictures exhibited at Abstract Line, are some of my physical world pieces,” Morlita  says of her gallery space. “They mix classical painting with post graphic design work, focused on light and geometry. Everything is inspired by nature, and I try to show the beauty of nature’s shapes through a strong touch of geometry and always guided by feelings and an abstract touch.”

The result of this are images which form beautiful, geometric abstractions of line and shade, clearly driven by geometry and symmetry whilst all the time retaining an organic sweep and flow. Produced in black and white, or sometimes using soft colours, the pieces are at once alive and at times urgent in form, while also being calming and almost mesmerizing as we become caught in the patterns forming before us.

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

It is the organic aspect of the pieces which perhaps captivate the most. Looking at certain pieces, as abstracted as they are, it is difficult not to see ripples on water or the curl and twists of pattern we might observe on a butterfly’s wing – or even the head of a fly or bee; whilst elsewhere can be seen a beautiful nod to that move organic of geometric forms: the Mandelbrot.

Also within the octagonal gallery space are several of Morlita’s 3D pieces, with the centre space dominated by a glorious 3D abstraction entitled The Garden. Translucent like smoked glass it forms three flower heads with petals that at once have hard, geometric edges but which are also completely organic in look, and through which white light flows sinuously.

Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery
Morlita Quan; Abstract Line Art Gallery

Abstract Line Art Gallery makes for an engaging visit, particularly if you are interested in abstract and / or geometric art, and particularly for exploring more of Morlita’s artistry. When visiting, please also consider a donation towards the gallery’s upkeep.

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At The Bridge with Terrygold in Second Life

The Bridge
The Bridge

Running from 13:00 SLT on Wednesday, December 21st through until January 6th at Art on Roofs, is The Bridge by Terrygold, an exhibition of over 40 of her images and studies in what I think is the largest display of her work to date.

Anyone familiar with Terrygold’s work, cannot help but be struck by her expressive use of monochrome, her minimal and striking use of colour and the manner in which props form an integral part of her images and the narratives they project. Seeing so many pieces on display here, complete with thematic groupings, really brings the extraordinary power and beauty of her work home.

The Bridge
The Bridge

As with her previous exhibits, The Bridge is reached via teleport from the main Art on Roofs landing point. On arrival, some viewer set-up may be required prior to entering the exhibition areas. Specifically, the time of day should be set to ambient dark / midnight, and the graphics Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) should be turned on to appreciate the projected lights (there is no need to enabled shadows Sun/Moon + Projected Lights if this hits your performance too hard – the light projectors will still work, you’ll just use the use of shadows to further enhance the pieces).

Once your viewer is set, step out in the white area and onto the bridge. This leads the way between six tall alcoves in which are displayed the first of Terrygold’s pieces – including one of the props used in a study. This bridge is the first indication that as with previous exhibitions, the setting in which Terrygold displays her work is not just a backdrop to her work, it is very much part of the exhibition itself – as there the props she’s used, which is why they can be found within The Bridge.

The Bridge
The Bridge

On reaching the far end of the bridge, visitors are invited to pass between blood-red curtains (red being one of the colours Terrygold frequently uses to present strong contrasts in her work) to the second element of the exhibition. Here amidst echoes of her earlier installation, Windows (which you can read about here), are four pieces with a distinctly musical theme. Beyond this, reached by following a jigsaw on the floor, lay the main two exhibit areas.

The first of these offers another three-dimensional experience to visitors – a theme continued from the settings for earlier displays – with the art extending below “floor” level. A white path winds through this chamber, passing an ivory piano while offering a vantage point for camming around the art and the hall, before leading the visitor through a gap in the walls to the final, midnight black chamber. Here are themed sets of beautiful monochrome nude studies. With titles such as Gabbia, (“Cage”), Prigioniera (“Prisoner”),  Freni (“Brakes”), and Muri Stella (“Wall Star”), they are stunningly evocative and powerful pieces which hold sway over one’s attention.

The Bridge
The Bridge

Terrygold modestly claims she is not an artist, just a photographer. I have, and continue to, disagree with her on this. Not only do her images demonstrate a clear eye for framing, composition and narrative, the environments in which she presents them more than demonstrate her considerable skill as an artist and designer.

The Bridge, as noted, will remain open through until January 6th, 2017. Should you visit, please do consider a donation towards Terrygold’s work and the upkeep of the Art on Roofs gallery spaces, of which she is also the curator.

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