Kimeu Korg: a return to DiXmiX in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Saturday, November 24th saw the opening of a new exhibition at DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source. Osmosis De Un Sueño: The Return sees Kimeu Korg return for the second part of an exhibition first witnessed in June 2018 (read here for more), moving to the White Gallery at DiXmiX this time around.

Kimeu is perhaps Second Life’s artist most rooted in surrealism in the presentation of his work, which can easily equal the likes of Max Ernst and René Magritte. Sometimes blending in-world images with elements from the physical world, for this part of Osmosis De Un Sueño, he presents pieces firmly produced in-world, several of which include his sense of whimsy, others of which present a more pointed expression.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

This part of the exhibition offers a baker’s dozen of images to b appreciated. I don’t usually ascribe an order in which to view an exhibition unless the artist has indicated one, but with Osmosis De Un Sueño: The Return, I would recommend starting a visit by taking the steps closest to the gallery’s main entrance up to the mezzanine level White Gallery.

Doing so will take you past Look and Retrato Equestre (Equestrian Portrait) into the core of Kimeu’s exhibition, allowing the full richest of his surrealist approach come to the fore, peppered in places with his sense of humour – and his ability to question norms, as with the subtle Prisoner, beautifully layered in potential meaning as it is, despite Kimeu’s disarming claim about his work.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Given the preponderance of skeletons in the pieces, one might think there is a little touch of post-Halloween in the exhibit, but to me these are in some way a lead up to what I consider to be the last piece in the exhibition – or at least, the one I would recommend coming to last of all, sitting above the entrance to the gallery’s events venue, The Atom.

Entitled Blind Obedience, it is a sobering piece, one which in the toxic political environment prevalent in parts of the world today, perhaps bears a special meaning and / or warning. Such is the imagery used, it sits well apart from the rest as it makes an extraordinarily strong statement, one given added impact by viewing it last of all (and the reason I’m not reproducing it here – it should be seen first-hand).

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Another remarkable exhibition by one of Second Life’s most remarkable artists, and one that should not be missed as it remains open through until at least late December 2018.

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2 Lei: No Violence in Second Life

2Lei – No Violence: Solkide Auer and Magda Schmidtzau

November 25th is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and since 2010, the day has been marked in Second Life by the collaborative arts group, 2Lei.

They do so by bringing together artists, galleries, event organisers, musicians and speakers in a multi-faceted, art-centric season intended to focus on the levels of physical, sexual and psychological violence that are specifically directed towards women and girls around the globe, and raise awareness of the need to put an end to what is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.

2Lei No Violence: Mistero Hifeng

Some of the facts surrounding violence against women are horrifying:

  • 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner.
  • 1 in 2 women killed worldwide were killed by their partners or family in 2012; while only 1 out of 20 men were killed under similar circumstances.
  • Only 52% of women married or in a union freely make their own decisions about sexual relations, contraceptive use and health care.
  • Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday, and often in force / arranged marriages, including in countries such as the United States where between 2000 and 2010, more than 167,000 children — almost all of them girls, some as young 12 — were married in 38 states, mostly to men 18 or older
  • While 200 million women and girls have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM).
  • 71% of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, and 3 out of 4 of these women and girls are sexually exploited.
2Lei No Violence: Storie’s Helendale (glitterprincess.destiny)

For 2018, 2Lei is presenting No Violence, an installation that brings together some 73 artists from across Second Life, as well as offering a range of daily presentations and music events, details of which can be found on the 2Lei blog, or via the note cards provided at the installation’s central landing point.

As with the 2017 event, No Violence is one of the more involved art installations I’ve visited in Second Life. The core of the installation is spread across three levels, starting at ground level in the region and connected by spiral staircases. In addition, teleport stones at the landing point provided access to My Name is #25 / A Wrong Party, by Storie’s Helendale (glitterprincess.destiny). Others may also involve teleport elements, so careful exploration is recommended.

Such is the size of this installation, and the message it contains, a single visit is perhaps not the most ideal way in which to appreciate all that is presented by No Violence. Simply put, there is a real risk of visual and / or emotional overload that could leave one numbed to the core message.

2Lei No Violence: Betty Tureaud

Hence the use of daily events, both presentations and musical. These allow visitors to break up time within the region over numerous days – not necessarily back-to-back – and perhaps focus their attention on two or three of the individual displays and installations at a time. And even if you’re not drawn the any of the live events, breaking your visit down in a similar manner may still help both with appreciation of the art offered within No Violence and it’s central, and important message.

Installations vary in form: some are static, some are interactive, several  – such as My Name is #25 / A Wrong Party – are narrative in nature. Information plaques are placed with each, offering background and depth to pieces, as well as providing information on the artist responsible. Some, as with Betty Tureaud’s The Book Keeper Says, offer links to practical advice for those who may be the victims of violence and abuse (in this installation’s case, domestic violence / abuse).

2Lei No Violence: 2D art gallery

No Violence will remain open through until the end of 2018, with the list of supporting events for December still apparently in development at the time of writing this review, so be sure to keep an eye on the 2Lei website, in-world group and other resources.

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Monroe Snook’s Art Bistro in Second Life

Monroe Snook Art Bistro

Monroe Snook has a new home for her art, courtesy of Milly Sharple. Called the Art Bistro, it offers an impressive insight into Monroe’s art, both from the physical world and from within SL.

Art expression for me is in the experience of the creative process. The thrill of a piece as it unveils itself as I work. The process can be slow and tedious or a quick snap. The work is in command – I am but its servant.

– Monroe Snook

Monroe Snook Art Bistro

Monroe’s physical art is a fascinating blend of nature and abstract; wonderful plant-like creations, some mindful of sea anemones or even triffids, others organic forms of fractal images. There is a rich vibrancy on the use of colours in these images that adds depth to the feeling they are each alive, whether plant-like in form or more crustacean in shape and feel.

Within her photography, Monroe demonstrates an equally rich ability to present mood or narrative – so much so, that I actually regretted finding three example of her photographic work on display in the gallery space.

Art expression for the viewer is in the interaction with the completed work. Spend time to get to know a work. Make [it] yours. Listen to its song.

– Monroe Snook

Monroe Snook Art Bistro

This is a selection of pieces that also demonstrate the richness of Monroe’s approach to her art: and approach that encompasses paints and brushes, scans of objects, original sketches, digital art tools such as fractal generation programs and tools like Photoshop.

All told, a welcome return to exhibiting her art from a talented artist.

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A touch of Frost (and more) in Second Life

The Vordun: Frost: Visions of Winter

Wintertime in the northern hemisphere is when thoughts turn to snow and holidays, and within Second Life, this is no exception. Many regions take on a winter look and feel, the ground, trees and buildings caught under white blankets or dusted with snow, even as more often falls from the sky. For many in the physical world, despite the cold, it is a time of joy and for treks through virgin drifts of snow or – in the case of the younger at heart snow fairies, snowmen and sledges and sleighs.

Celebrating this time of year is not new; people have always found enjoyment with winter and the changes it brings to the world, and right now we can witness this for ourselves at a recently opened exhibition of art at The Vordun Museum and Gallery, created and curated by Jake Vordun.

Entitled Frost: Visions of Winter, it offers selected reproductions of classical pieces of art spanning 500 years, celebrating winter in all its glory, as the introductory notes explain:

In this exhibition, you will see twenty painting, drawings, prints and manuscripts depicting different aspects of the season. Be it landscapes, winter costumes or feasts by the fire, these pieces will show you glimpses of winter from the  15th century to the 20th.

The Vordun: Frost: Visions of Winter

The Vordun has a reputation – thoroughly deserved – for bringing high-quality reproductions of physical world art, properly licensed, into Second Life. This exhibition, located in the gallery’s rearmost hall, is no exception. Including paintings and drawings by the likes of Francesc Masriera i Manovens, Jacob van Ruisdael, Sebastiaan Vrancx, Claude MonetJean-Baptiste Pater, Francis Wheatley and Hendrick Avercamp, this might at first be considered a wholly European view of winter – but not so; America is represented via James Abbott McNeill Whistler, as is China through the ink on paper Winter Forest in Flying Snow by Wen Zhengming, with Scandinavian artists also being present among the images.

I really cannot stress the quality of these pieces, which together with the environment in which they are set. As I noted when it first opened in July 2016, The Vordun beautifully recreates the experience of visiting a physical world art gallery – so much so that it one of the those select Second Life experiences that leaves me regretting we cannot have fully immersive virtual reality in Second Life. Certainly, for those building in Sansar, it is perhaps the model of how to plan and build a virtual gallery space.

The Vordun: Frost: Visions of Winter

This is not only because of the look and feel of The Vordun, but in the way Jake has developed a visit as a Second Life experience in the technical sense of the word, presenting visitors with the opportunity to view the works in the main hall exhibition of European Masters: 300 Years of Painting as immersively as possible, via scripted camera control and the use of both voice and text to impart information on each piece on display.

Sadly, this aspect of The Vordun doesn’t extend into Frost: Visions of Winter, but that is not to say the latter is lessened in any way; rather the reverse. Frost stands as a captivating exhibition in its own right, while for those who haven’t visited The Vordun before, the presentation of European Masters: 300 Years of Painting, makes a visit to the gallery doubly worthwhile – and also gives the opportunity to appreciate two other long-running exhibitions there: Pictures of the Floating World and Dutch Proverbs (both of which you can read about here), which are as equally stunning as Frost and European Masters, and sample Postcrossing, a celebration of the website of the same name and the use of postcards to bring half a million people around the world a little closer together.

The Vordun: Frost: Visions of Winter

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Dropping into Sisi’s gallery in Second Life

Sisi Biedermann

Sisi Biedermann is a prolific and exceptionally talented artist. Her work is quite unlike art produced within Second Life or uploaded and exhibited in-world. In a sense, thanks to Sisi’s imagination, style, and rich use of colour and ideas, to me it straddles the two. So many of her pieces could depict settings and situations waiting to be created in-world, whilst all offer doorways into fantastical worlds that come to life as virtual places within our imaginations.

As I’ve noted before, Sisi’s work is broad-ranging and so skilfully executed, it is possible to become lost in her techniques (which, I’d hazard a guess mix both traditional and digital approaches), so I was delighted when Caitlyn and I had the opportunity to visit Sisi’s gallery in-world to view some of her most recent work, which went on display at the start of November 2018.

Sisi Biedermann

Sisi notes her art and her time in Second Life are closely intertwined, and not just because of the numerous exhibitions in which she participates:

I joined Second Life in 2007, and back then I never realized how much this would mean to me. I started taking photos in Second Life in 2008, and have developed my style ever since.

Back then I had just started painting with acrylics after a very long break where I raised my children and looked after my family and my work. Today, I have painted several hundred paintings, and I still get a lot of inspiration from nature, second Life and northern islands such as Faroe Islands and Iceland.

All this brings me to where I am today and I hope you will enjoy my pictures.

– Sisi Biedermann on her art.

Sisi Biedermann

On offer at the gallery are around 50 of Sisi’s paintings, each one of them stunning in their colours, composition and presentation. Where a number of her recent exhibition have perhaps leaned towards her animal and wildlife images, this collection focuses more on her fantasy work and human studies, touched with elements of the mystic and science fiction in places.

Every single piece on offer is testament to Sisi’s skill; each one unique and captivating. So much so, that picking out a single piece from this collection is unfair; but I admit there is one piece in particular that completely took away my breath.

Perfectly placed on the upper floor stairwell, and passing unseen until visitors make their return journey to the lower levels, is The Evil Wizard, and it is quite the most stunning painting of the late Heath Ledger in what was perhaps his most remembered role: that of The Joker in The Dark Knight. The positioning of this piece means that you cannot fail to immediately be mesmerised by such a captivating image of Ledger as The Joker.

Sisi Biedermann

A truly striking gallery, and not one to be missed.

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Blue Orange: adventures in art in Second Life

Blue Orange

It’s been nigh on a year since my last review of an exhibition at Blue Orange gallery, the music and arts venue in Second Life curated by Ini (In Inaka). Part of the reason for this was that the last exhibition at gallery I covered seemed to be drawn out over an extended period, and then the gallery was reported as being closed for re-building. However, I hopped over recently out of curiosity to find it once again open for business – and the rebuild has left a visit feeling less like a trip to a gallery and more of an adventure of discovery.

The familiar subway landing point is still present – but now with a second platform on the far side of the track, the first indication of changes as ghostly trains roar between the tunnels at either end of the station. The familiar music venue lies at the end of the tiled hall leading away from the platform, a hall displaying images by various photographers taken whilst visiting Blue Orange.

Blue Orange: Daze Landar

From here – or earlier, if you opt to walk along the platform to the doors labelled Art Corner – the adventure begins, as the Art Corner can be accessed via a hole in the wall of the club. This route leads visitors first to the Library. Inspired by The Colour of Pomegranates, a 1969  Soviet arts film directed by Sergei Parajanov, this is a surreal place with unfinished walls, against which books are pinned, with more floating in the air. Each book offers a web link to a writer or poet’s website where the given story or poem can be enjoyed.

Beyond this lies an assortment of halls, some connected directly to one another, others reached via doors or through connecting passages (including the second platform), still others reached via stairs and ladders or by actively jumping down well-like holes. Within each of these spaces art can be found.

Blue Orange: Wakizashi Yoshikawa

At the time of my visit, this included 2D photography and art by Grady Echegaray, Harbor (Harbor Galaxy), Natalia Seranade, Gitu Aura, Thea Maiman, Daze Landar (DaisyDaze), and Ina herself.  3D work by Kimeu Korg (Kimeu) and Bryn Oh (the latter reached via the stairs behind the club’s DJ area) is also to be found, while Wakizashi Yoshikawa and Aïcha (Tubal Amiot) present a mix of 2D and 3D art.

Finding your way around the art spaces is, as noted, something of an adventure; confusing in places (are you supposed to go through the blue door and then drop down to a space apparently between the exhibition halls?), but definitely worth the time taken to explore and discover.

Blue Orange: Gitu Aura

I’m not sure if the gallery will feature a changing roster artists, or whether some of the halls are intended to offer permanent spaces in which artists-in-residence will offer different exhibitions of their work – Bryn Oh’s space, for example, now appears to be a permanent fixture within Blue Orange.

However, such questions are secondary to the time spent in explorations here: the art is rich and diverse, and the nature of the gallery’s halls means that each corner or stair can lead to a pleasing discovery for any lover of art in Second Life. However, when visiting do make sure you have enabled Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) on your viewer (Preferences > Graphics), in order to ensure you see all of the art as intended.

Blue Orange

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