TerpsiCorps: five artists

TerpsiCorps gallery: Luly Boop (Lulyboop)

Currently on display at the TerpsiCorps ARTWerks gallery is an ensemble exhibition featuring the art of Luly Boop (Lulyboop), Bamboo Barnes, Isadora Alaya (Otcoc), Sabbian Paine and Myra Wildmist. Located in the former Dionysus Workshop Pavilion area, which has been converted into five individual exhibition spaces very much in keeping with the rest of the TerpsiCorps environment.

“My biggest passion in Second Life is photography,” Luly states of her work. “For the last two years, the photography has allowed me to communicate my thoughts, my emotions, to tell histories. SL gives me the ideal setting to do all this.” This is certainly true of the pieces she offers here. Self studies, each has its own story to tell, with three in particular depicting Luly’s relationship with her art.

TerpsiCorps gallery: Luly Boop (Lulyboop)

“In the last year Photoshop has allowed me to expand my ability to express myself through pictures,” she continues, “I intend to learn more about this tool because it allows me to capture SL not always as it is, but use virtual world to give space to my imagination.” Thus, My Thoughts…, My Goal… and My Dreams… – while perhaps NSFW – are beautifully rendered and processed through Photoshop to reflect the beauty of Luly’s relationship with her art – a woman and her camera.

Bamboo Barnes is a self-taught artist who first started capturing images in 2012. “Very soon Second Life art installations became my biggest favourite theme, and they are a reason I continue to log-in to Second Life. I don’t deal with change well in the real world, but with my art, I don’t like to express myself the same way for too long; that is boring.”

TerpsiCorps gallery: Bamboo Barnes

Again, the seven images she offers at TerpsiCorps richly reflect this drive to see her work change – to evolve. Focusing on the art installations of others, each piece is richly evocative and richly presented. Each is very different from the last – although something of an abstract theme is present in several of them.

Sabbian Paine has been capturing the world of Second Life through his lens since early 2009 when he was introduced to the world of Second Life photography. What started out as a hobby quickly became a passion, offering him a freedom to create images of depth and beauty, reflections of an environment he sees as a immersive 3D world filled with art. The seven images Sabbian presents here stand as a magnificent testimony to both his work and viewpoint.

With four pieces offered in monochrome and three in soft tones, there really are marvellous images, each one deeply evocative and rich in narrative.

TerpsiCorps gallery: Sabbian Paine

Isadora Alaya (Otcoc) is a name from SL photography I had not been familiar with prior to visiting TerpsiCorps gallery, where she is exhibiting the largest number of pieces among the first four artists, with nine pictures on display. seven of these are essentially black and white / monochrome studies covering a range of subjects, with two richly coloured and in strong contrast to the others. all are beautifully executed pieces, which comprise pictures of locations within Second Life and studies of art displays  – notably by Haveit Neox – which present a diverse series of statements on our virtual world, each one fully capable of capturing and holding the eye.

The last exhibit on offer is a small installation by Myra Wildmist entitled Your Vagina is Art, a seemingly self-explanatory title, although the installation is far more subtle than the name implies. With images, quotes, observations and new items, complete with an interactive element, this appears to be an installation designed to combine art and a degree of social / sexual commentary. I leave it to you, should you visit, to determine whether it speaks to you or not.

TerpsiCorp gallery: Isadora Alaya (Otcoc)

All five exhibitions have been available at TerpsiCorps for the last couple of months. As such, and while I’m not clear on when they might close / be changed, I do suggest that if you plan visiting, you do so sooner rather than later, just in case.

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Steampunk Moods in Second Life

Steampunk Modes: Gem Preiz

Now open at Galerie des Machines, Paris Couture and curated by Olympe (OLYMPES Rhode), is Steampunk Moods, a celebration of steampunk and Victorian technology, with a touch of ecological commentary. The exhibition features art by Gem Preiz, Melusina Parkin, Haveit Neox and Bénédicte Petiet.

“Straddling the reincarnation of the past and a certain idea of ​​the future, Steampunk is primarily an aesthetic current of literary origin before developing on a multitude of other media,” Olympe states in the introduction to the exhibition. “A temporal paradox, it mixes centuries of fiction, Jules Verne, [Herbert] George Wells, popular culture, films, comics and other video games.” The art presented within the gallery’s halls reflects this in a most eclectic mix of 2D art spanning the virtual and the physical, and which mixes what might be termed “traditional” steampunk imagery with more familiar Victoriana and interpretations of the future.

Steampunk Modes: Melusina Parkin

The ground floor of the gallery features a selection of Gem Preiz’s stunning fractal art, and the first glimpse into the future. It’s well established that I’m a major admirer of Gem’s work, and the pieces selected for this exhibit reflect why. Gem’s fractal art is hugely evocative in painting visions of the future; they encompass everything from cosmology through issues of ecology and human development,  touching – richly so – on concepts of architecture,  design and culture.

Several of these factors are touched upon within the thirteen images presented here – but so to is a sense of mechanisation. Several of the pieces have the look and feel of great engines – or parts of engines; others seem to suggest great cogs and wheels. There are also other reflections of steampunk: hints of lenses, twists of grill work and plating that are almost decorative in look and feel – the finery that can so often be found in more delicate pieces from the era. Each image is uniquely beautiful and  – literally – multi-faceted, demonstrating Gem’s multi-panel approach to his art that allow him to offer marvellously high-resolution pieces of his original art.

Steampunk Moods: Haveit Neox

On the floor above Gem’s exhibit is an extensive display of in-world photography by Melusina Parkin, featuring steampunk elements found throughout Second Life, both large and small and presented in a suitably metal-walled environment. Many of the images present objects and scenes in Melu’s familiar close-up style, focusing our attention on specifics, rather than a broader scene, while still conveying an entire story to a piece. Several of them present familiar steampunk themes – powered airships: both dirigible and boat-hulled. Propellers also feature, while there are hints of Verne and Wells to be found.The models of Battersea Power Station, dating from the 1930s, might seem a little incongruous. But given it is an iconic emblem to industrial power, it is somehow fitting.

Passing through the display of Melusina’s art brings visitors to a second hall, where Haveit Neox’s contribution can be found. This takes the form of an iteration of his installation, The Miniature Goal, first seen in 2014.  Within it, Haveit asks, “What if our physical world shrunk in proportion to the resources we drain from it?” As I wrote back in 2014, this is a fascinating piece; here it perhaps offers a slightly different look at steampunk. The technology of the latter is somewhat based on the consumption of fossil fuels and other natural resources, consideration of the consequences are perhaps not so at odds with the core theme.

Steampunk Modes: Bénédicte Petiet

Above the floor featuring the physical world art of   Bénédicte Petiet. Again, the canvas here is broader than what might be regarded as “traditional” steampunk. Like Melu, Bénédicte presents the most of his images in close-up: machines, wheels, pistons, gears, relays … all are presented here. So to are what might be considered elements from outside the realm of steampunk itself: cars from the recent past, and even street scenes. With the exception of the latter – which appear to be a mini-exhibit in their own right – the rest of the images suggest something almost “retro-futuristic”: the past we can recognise presented through a digital medium of their future.

All told, a multi-faceted exhibition, well worth exploring.

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Nevereux: an artistic Journey into Communication

MetaLES: Journey into Communication

Now open at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, is Journey into Communication, an installation by Nevereux. Mixing 2D art, words and 3D settings, it presents a quirky but thought-provoking journey into the ways in which we communicate which all contains a degree of social commentary and some insight into the artist herself.

Nevereux introduces the installation in a completely self-effacing manner, “So here you’ll find everything you need (aside from few artistic skills) so to waste your most precious 77 minutes. Due to a fortunate series of coincidences, you’ll find a brand new iPhoneZ and a handsome pencil on the ground. Sure I’ve also got lots of decent pictures, but they’re all just kinda boring. Keep yourself awaken by sniffing the paint(ings) on the walls.”

MetaLES: Journey into Communication

This drastically undersells the installation, reached via teleport from the MetaLES landing point. The art is ranging in a circle around a slightly undulating snowy landscape. Pictures hang from the sky, and are mounted within small sets related to their subject matter (those on signals from space, immersion, and similar, are presented within the shells of what might be a space station, for example).

At first, the installation can be confusing – however there is logic to it. A raised stage sits in the south-east corner, with a door marked Enter beneath it. This is the starting-point, and visitors should progress from here in a clockwise direction around the display areas. The first of these poses the question about how we look at the world: through the limits of the screen – be it television, computer, ‘phone and so on – or through the richness of knowledge and imagination presented by books. After this, we are warned – again in a self-effacing comment: This is where it all gets a bit surreal.

MetaLES: Journey into Communication

Surreal things might be in places; but so to are they rich in depth and meaning – pointed to by way of the labels each has. “The images you see here are concepts,” Nevereux states. And they very much are – and more. They are reflections and thought on life, how we relate to one another, to the world around us, our condition – even on the way life has been reduced to a matter of consumerism. In many these ideas are clearly offered, either directly or through the support of accompanying text; in others, they are more obscure, encouraging one to take time considering them.

This is a provocative exhibition in that it demands thought and consideration when visiting. There is even, as noted, a small section offering insight into Neverex herself – and it is beautifully presented: through the words of a poem. Bitter-sweet, poignant and rich in imagery, this alone make a visit worth while.

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Behind the Avatar in Second Life

Club LA and Gallery: Behind the Avatar

Now open at the Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist), is Behind the Avatar, an exhibition of images by Panteleimon Aeon. On display are eleven pictures (one of which forms a free gift to visitors) by Pan, which present Second Life as it might be seen through the eyes of an avatar, and in which we’re being allowed to share.

Each picture features a setting and a solitary avatar – mainly Pan himself, although Like Dreaming of Angels  and …Through both clearly feature a female avatar, and  Isoldes Remorse might feature a woman under the hat and coat.

Club LA and Gallery: Behind the Avatar

The avatars are mainly presented from the rear or in a three-quarters profile from the rear. In this way, they are not necessarily the central focus of each piece – although our eyes are obviously drawn to them. Rather then become come a part of the image, blending, if you will, with their surroundings whilst also offering a glimpse of what they might be reflecting upon whilst looking at the scene themselves.

I was first introduced to Pan’s work by Sorcha Tyles. At the time I commented, “Pan’s work is visually striking, combining a sense of posed set piece with natural flavour. The result is that while each may well have been composed, so to could each have been easily caught as a moment from the subject’s life; a frozen instant of an unfolding story, the subject unaware they have been so captured.”

Club LA and Gallery: Behind the Avatar

This is again very much the case with the images in this selection, offering as they do a wonderful sense of depth, emotion, and feelings. Each very much carries a story within it, combining avatar and setting into a whole – whilst also allowing us to more metaphorical see from behind the avatar – and through the eyes of the artist himself.

As such, this is an expressive display, and a superb means to gain familiarity with Pan’s work for those who have not previously encountered it. Behind the Avatar can be found on the mezzanine area to the right of the main gallery entrance, with stair leading up to it from the garden end of the hall.

Club LA and Gallery: Visions – Kimeu Korg

While visiting, be sure to check Transitions by Myra Wildmist, which I reviewed at the end of October, and Visions by Kimeu Korg.

The latter is another set of studies of Second Life, often featuring and avatar or avatars, some of which are beautifully humorous, while others weave a story in the observer’s mind. All are beautifully executed and the exhibition as a whole should not be missed.

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The Haze in Second Life

The Haze

Now open at CKB Art Gallery curated by Ceakay (CK) Ballyhoo is The Haze. It is the latest installation in a series of living stories featuring art and focused on the adventures of a principal character, whose journey we are invited to follow in words, images and settings. For The Haze, CK returns to her own character of Ellie, who featured in A Watercolour Wander (read here for more) and The Forest Beyond (read here for more) in a collaborative story developed with 2D and 3D artist Silas Merlin.

“It was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” CK says of the installation. “An offer from Silas to use his new builds and sketches to form a story. Using Silas’s new digital sketches and the ruins and creatures he has created, a world started to form, darker than anything we’ve either done before, the story turned into a nightmare: Ellie’s nightmare.”

The Haze

The result is a full region installation far removed from the green and pleasant lands of the first two instalments of Ellie’s dreamworld adventures. Instead, visitors find themselves in a desert-like, ghostly landscape, heavy with a dusty haze (I recommend exploring using the default windlight). Instructions on following the story can be found at the landing point – and should be read. In short, look for the little illuminated STORY stones set on the ground along the way, each one presents a chapter in the unfolding nightmare.

Another difference between this and Ellie’s previous adventures is that not only are the chapters presented in note card form when the stones are clicked, but approach a stone will trigger it being read to you – just have local sounds enabled (*not* the audio stream) to hear the readings. These readings can actually overlap one another, depending on how many are playing when you visit, and where you are in relation to the different stones. This might annoy some; for me, they actually added extra ambience: whispering ghostly voices, overlapping but each telling a story – if you listen carefully and focus on just one of the voices.

The Haze

The setting, with its deserting buildings, twisted trees, creatures and ruins, presents an eerie landscape, barren despite the trees – which appear a sickly yellow-green, rather than the usual robust green of fir-trees.  It’s a haunting place in which scenes loom up at you. They can seem disjointed, sudden – and very nightmare-like for doing so. Amidst all the rocks and fir-trees, seemingly dead trees also sit, their branches denuded of leaves, left to form easels on which groups of Silas’ drawings sit. These also have little STORY stones alongside of them which, when touched, will deliver background notes on a scene to you in note card form, adding further depth the the story.

Silas’ art is as captivating as ever – and there is a lot to see from buildings to gnomes to creatures to rocks (someone them resembling creatures) to people awaiting discovery. The 2D art forming the background stories is cleverly presented and offers an illustrative style reminiscent of a storybook – so thoroughly in keeping with the setting. He and CK have created an immersive tale, one which invites exploration  – and be sure to keep an eye out for the Boogeyman and also the dragon rezzer – the latter will allow you to fly up to the higher reaches of the setting, unreachable by foot, and essential to the story.

The Haze

Also when visiting, don’t miss the UP teleport at the landing point – it will take you to a sky gallery where you can find CK’s own art, more from Silas as well as from other artists, all taken from CK’s personal collection.

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Within the Voice of Björk in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery – Cecilia Nansen Mode: Within the Voice of Björk

Currently on display within the Black Gallery hall at DixMix Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, is a selection of images by Cecilia Nansen Mode – whom I confess is one of my favourite exponents of the art of avatar studies. Entitled Within the Voice of Björk, the selection features some fifteen images inspired by the lyrics of thirteen songs by Icelandic singer Björk.

“Within the voice of Björk, I hear the roars of a beast of the North … the beast of a woman,” Cecilia says in introducing the exhibit. “Within the voice of Björk, I hear the voice of the little girl … Within the voice of Björk, I hear the finest and most delicate tones … Within the voice of Björk, I hear passion, anger love, hope and fear. The deepest frustration and the highest happiness. The acceptance of depression, the orgasmic explosions of joy.

“I hear a woman; I hear all women; I hear myself.”

DiXmiX Gallery – Cecilia Nansen Mode: Within the Voice of Björk

It’s a powerful set of statements, encompassing so much, including reflections on the rugged, unpredictable nature of Iceland itself – a country I know well myself. Its seemingly solid, stoic outward appearance: firm and unyielding in the face of the harshness of the North Atlantic hides a turbulent core, hot and unpredictable, prone to busting through that stoic shell – the very metaphor of the moods and passions to which Cecilia alludes.

The images for Within the Voice of Björk are equally as powerful. Set against plain white or black backdrops, using monochrome, soft tints or the minimum of colour,  each image has a simple, elegant  – dare I say calm framing, within which is set the most evocative, captivating interpretations of mood and feeling, beautifully expressed through the female form.

DiXmiX Gallery – Cecilia Nansen Mode: Within the Voice of Björk

Beneath each image is a button which, when touched, will display the title of the song which inspired the picture, together with a selected portion of the lyrics. These provide depth and context to each image, allowing us to delve deeper into each in turn – although in all honesty, each image is so exquisitely executed and presented, it speaks loudly and clearly even before one turns to the lyrics.

These are also marvellous examples of the technical art of photography: the considered use of lighting, backdrop, soft focus, depth of field, angle, use of colour, framing. All are used to perfection, the various combinations within each piece doing much to capture and hold one’s attention, drawing one into the moods and feeling expressed within each – the wildness, the passion, love, hope, frustration and joy to which Cecilia refers in her introduction to the exhibition.

DiXmiX Gallery – Cecilia Nansen Mode: Within the Voice of Björk

Most of the images correspond to a single song; however there are two images devoted to Big Time Sensuality and a triplet of images inspired by All is Full of Love, and I have to confess, this triplet is for me the centre piece for Within the Voice of Björk. While every piece in the exhibit is worthy of appreciation and praise, I found the emotive phrasing of these three images, and the inspired use of android figures to convey those emotions utterly stunning.

This is a truly magnificent collection, and one to be savoured.

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