Focus Gallery in Second Life

Focus Magazine Gallery

I recently received a couple of invitations to visit the new Focus Magazine Gallery, one from CybeleMoon, who is their inaugural Featured Artist exhibiting in the main gallery, and also from Angela Thespian, Editor of Focus Magazine.

The main gallery occupies the upper floor of one wing of a multi-purpose building located within a sky platform designed to resemble a city-space. With the use of projected lighting, it is an ideal environment for displaying 2D – and is especially finely suited to CybeleMoon’s (Hana Hoobinoo) marvellous art-as-stories, the bright, modern lines of the gallery with the muted cream tones perfectly compliment the dark tones and depth of light of Cybele’s art.

Focus Magazine Gallery: CybeleMoon

The exhibition accompanies a feature article on Cybele in the June issue of Focus Magazine that makes for excellent reading for those not familiar with Cybele herself, offering rich insight into the influences on her life and art. It goes a long was to explaining why I am a confirmed admirer of Cybele’s work; while her art far outstrips anything I could hope to achieve, we nevertheless share common themes of interest: Celtic mythology, the attraction of certain landscapes: misty glens, high moorland fens, remote tors and the beauty of light caught between the branches of trees; the muse of music – notably Ennio Morricone (perhaps the single most gifted composer of the 20th century), James Newton Howard and Klaus Badlet.

But it is her art, first and foremost that attracts me; the richness of tone, the mixing and balance of light and shade, the symbolism and – most poignantly – the depth of narrative. As such – and as I’ve often said, her art is not to be missed, and at Focus, she presents a broad portfolio of her work that offers a superb introduction for those not familiar with her work, and an engaging  makes a visit more than worthwhile.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Naema

Tucked into a corner across the central area of the platform (which was in a state of flux when I visited, being a green park the first couple of times I dropped in earlier in the week, then sprouting a drive-in movie theatre when I dropped in on Saturday – a sign that this is an evolving setting) is the FAIR gallery – for Focus Artists In Residence programme. Split between two floors, this offers four exhibition spaces which for June feature the art of Naema (mojosb5c), Red Fire (RobinLeia), Tig (tigggg) and Angela herself.

All four present art focused on avatar studies, but the work is so richly various in style and approach that the visitor doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the volume of pieces on offer. These are four artists who individually have a depth of style that is attractive to the eye, and I found it somewhat refreshing to see a gallery featuring male self-portraits as an Artist In Residence exhibit; not that this doesn’t happen – just that it seems at times to be rare.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Red Fire

But I confess it was perhaps Red Fire’s work that most deeply attracted me. Incorporating that subtle balance of light and dark, often carrying a fantasy / fantastical theme, and with that all-important narrative subtext, I found Red’s art utterly captivating.

With strong roots in the arts community through the magazine and it sin-world group – Too Sexy For This Group (TSFTG) -, and with the perspective of using the main gallery space to offer additional focus on their featured artist for each issue, of the magazine, Focus Magazine Gallery promises to make for a fascinating – no pun intended – focus for future visits.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Tig

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Poetical Revolt in Second Life

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

Currently open at Galerie des Machines, curated by Olympe (OLYMPES Rhode), is an immersive, interactive exhibition entitled Poetical Revolt (with a play on “love” in the title), an ensemble installation by Yoon (Onyxxe), along with Mi-Angie (Angie Abraham), Tutsy Navarathna, and ChimKami Resident.

The installation is an interesting concept, taking as its basis a poem by Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), often regarded as a “revolutionary” French poet known for his influence on modern literature and arts, which prefigured surrealism. The poem in question is Vowels, which linked the vowels of the alphabet with colours: A = black; E = white; I = red; O = green; U = blue, and the thoughts they bring to mind.

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

Here they are used to outline concepts of change, with the artists noting:

Arthur Rimbaud … the man whose poems not only drastically transformed poetry but also opened a new window of understanding for the new world.

Is this not what art is about? Contribute to a change of consciousness! So it is for the poets, musicians, and singers introduced here.

Those singers, artists and musicians comprise Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Patti Smith, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Oksana Shachko, and the Sex Pistols, all of whom are considered revolutionary in terms of their music and art.

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

Viewing the installation requires you have the viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled (Preference > Graphics), and should have the time of day set to midnight (or, if you have it available, set your local windlight to Phototools No Light). Locals sounds should also be enabled. Those wishing to more fully immerse themselves can also use the free colour avatars offered at various points in the installation.

The installation is split into a series of rooms representative of the vowels, and each tending to focus on at least one of the named artists. Interactive elements are to be found within them: animations, links to You Tube videos.

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

However, how this installation might be interpreted is down to individual insight; I confess, I found the potential of a message to be mixed. On the one hand, the introduction speaks of celebrating change, and one of the artists frames the installation as being a “battle” focused on injustice, climate and pollution. However, on the other, I found the reflection of this within the installation  – or choice of figures within it – to be somewhat narrow: Joplin, Smith, Morrison, Cobain, and the Sex Pistols have certainly been influential in shaping modern music and music genres – but instruments of change in matters of injustice, climate and pollution? I’m not entirely convinced.

Nevertheless, there is enough within this installation to catch the eye, so my confusion should not be seen as a reason not to visit it; Poetical Revolt may speak more powerfully to you.

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Xirana’s art at the Lin C Art Gallery

Lin C Art Gallery: Xirana

Now open at the Lin C Art Gallery, curated by Lin Carlucci, is an exhibition of physical world paintings by Xirana (Xirana Oximoxi).

An artist from Catalan, Xirana notes of her art:

My works reflect my concerns and my different moods. They are based on my experiences and express a personal sensitivity nourished by impressions from the external world and my internal world. In this latter sense, I like to call them abstractions or ‘mental landscapes’. The works reflect the influences of impressionism, expressionism, abstract expressionism of artists like Jackson Pollock and the informalism among many others.

Lin C Art Gallery: Xirana

For this exhibition, Xirana demonstrates this breadth of approach by offering pieces that range from landscapes, to impressionist pieces through to the more abstract.

The majority of the latter are located on the ground floor of the gallery. These are very tonal pieces carrying with them a strong geometric form within them, while the lines and colour offer a sense of informalism to which Xirana alludes in her biography.

Lin C Art Gallery: Xirana

The mezzanine level of the gallery contains a range of Xirana’s watercolour landscapes, most of which have a focus on water. Within some there is a hint of abstractionism, whilst one bridges the other six with five pieces that move more towards impressionism in their style, even as they maintain that hint of abstractionism.

Once again, an engaging exhibition presented by Lin that allows us to again share the work of a physical world artist whose work might otherwise remain beyond the reach of many of us.

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Athazagoraphobia, Evolution and a touch of colour at Vibes Gallery

Vibes Gallery: Store’s Helendale – Athazagoraphobia

I confess that Vibes Gallery, curated (I believe) by Eviana Robbiani, is a place that I’d not come across until I received an invite from Storie’s Helendale (GlitterPrincess Destiny) to attend her latest exhibition there – one of three that can be experienced within the somewhat grunge-like gallery setting that offers an appeal of its own.

Storie’s often tends to take the more unusual / thought provoking as the theme for her exhibitions, and this – although brief in some respects – is no different. Entitled Athazagoraphobia, it takes its title from what is perhaps one of the least talked about human phobias: fear of being forgotten or of forgetting others.  It is often associated with the families / loved ones of Alzheimer’s/dementia patients, who fear their loved ones will forget them eventually, but can be encountered elsewhere, and in the form of a fear of being forgotten by those we love after we have passed.

Vibes Gallery: Store’s Helendale – Athazagoraphobia

In this, athazagoraphobia has a role to play in our digital lives. What happens if we leave SL, will those we have known be remembered? How long will our work / activities here help hold us in the minds of others? Even if our work remains, will it help people to recall us, as the people responsible for that work? What happens if someone we know decides to leave Second Life? will they continue to think of us, to recall our friendship, our company? Will we live on in their thoughts?

Through words and images, this appears to be the element of athazagoraphobia Storie’s explores in this small, but evocative exhibition. In it, she uses images to offer the suggestion of fading memories and words to question how we might be recalled, to bring in the focus the desire to be remembered, to be more than a fading memory or the name assigned to an image or object. It’s a dark subject – emphasised by Storie’s request that a dark windlight setting is used when visiting – but it is also one hauntingly brought to life through her images.

Vibes Gallery: Lexia Kohime – Evolution

I retained the same windlight setting – Phototools No Light, although Midnight will also work – to view Evolution, an exhibition by Lexia Kohime. In difference to many avatar study exhibitions, the focus of this exhibition is the male portrait: close-in head studies present in a range of finishes: colour, monochrome and sepia finishes, these are fascinating pieces, each rich with its own life, a capturing and framing of the nature of the subjects.

The exceptions to the pieces sit to one end of the gallery space, where a smaller selection of female avatar head studies can be found. I confess that, as engaging as the male studies are, I found several of these to be more coptivating. Not because they are of female avatars (I have no bias either way when it comes to avatar studies), but because I found four of them to be rich in the kind of narrative I love to discover within images.

Vibes Gallery: Lexia Kohime – Evolution

The final exhibition – which commenced in mid-May 2019, and so might not have much longer to run – is an ensemble selection featuring Aurora Donner, Zoota Manota, Petra Messioptra, Meilo Minotaur, Marina Munter, Armand Parks, Erika Xaron, Patrick of Ireland and Rodnoc.

Again entirely focused on avatars, perhaps the best way to describe the theme of this selection is “colour”; each piece contains a colour palette and / or tone that immediately draws the visitor into it.

Vibes Gallery: ensemble exhibition

With three engaging exhibitions offering a richness of art and avatar studies for May / June, I look forward to returning to Vibes Gallery to witness future exhibitions.

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Livio’s retrospective at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

Livio Korobase is rightly known and admired for his 3D art installations in Second Life. Sometimes irreverent or with a rich vein of humour and sense of fun, other times thought provoking and challenging – but always fascinating and engaging, Livio’s work never fails to capture the eye and mind.

Given he frequently works on the scale of an entire region, any attempt at offering a look back on his work is going to be something of a challenge; just how do you bring together some much in the way of large-scale work in a space that could often be confined by the limitations of a gallery.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

Yet that is what he has done – and quite appealingly so – thanks to an invitation from Dido Haas, owner and curator of Nitroglobus Roof Gallery. With Post Factum (“after the fact” – or to put it another way, retrospectively) Livio presents a marvellous review of his work that  – in Dido’s own words (borrowed from Monty Python which, given Livio’s aforementioned sense of fun, is not entirely inappropriate) – present and exhibition that is quite “completely different” for Nitroglobus Roof Gallery.

Nitroglobus has always made a clever use of space: the gallery’s halls are high walled, allowing extremely large format images to be exhibited. More than this, however, its walls extend below the transparent floor  level, allowing mirrored copies of images exhibited to be placed “below” them, giving the impression the pictures are being reflected in the polished floors themselves.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

For Post Factum, Livio both continues this approach, placing 2D images of his art both above and below the floors to give the illusions of reflections. But at the same time, he presents different 3D pieces on the main and sub-floors of the gallery.

Not only does this allow for the display of more of Livio’s work than might otherwise be the case without making things crowded, thus making excellent use of the available space. More than this however, the use of the available space cleverly reflects Livio’s ability to challenge our perceptions: paintings and photos “reflected” in the floors – yet those same floors reveal completely different 3D figures below them than those sitting above them.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

To move between the two levels, visitors are invited to use the teleporter “hole”. Doing so is recommended, given that many of Livio pieces can be interactive so you’re going to want to get close enough to be able to mouse-over / touch them to find out what might happen.

As a retrospective, the exhibition offers pieces from many of Livio’s installations and exhibitions – Black Elk, Eidola, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Musiclandia, and more. For those of us familiar with Livio’s work, Post Factum therefore offers a fascinating trip down memory lane. For those who might not be so familiar with his work, the exhibition still offers an inviting and immersive introduction.

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JolieElle’s artistry in Second Life

Vision Of Beauty Art Complex: JolieElle Parfort

Currently on display at the Vision of Beauty Art Complex is an exhibition of art by -Jolie- (JolieElle Parfort). Spread across two levels of the gallery space, each connected to the other via a teleport system, this is a fabulous introduction to Jolie’s landscape paintings for those who may not have previously encountered her work.

Jolie describing her art as post-impressionism. This school of painting tends to be denoted through the use of heavy brush-strokes and an eschewing of impressionism’s accurate depiction of light, opting instead for the use of vivid and sometimes unnatural colours and tones, whilst often including a degree of geometric form and / or a distortion of form for visual effect.

Vision Of Beauty Art Complex: JolieElle Parfort

Much of this is very much present in Jolie’s work, as demonstrated in the selection she offers in this exhibition. Her flamingos strikingly bold in colour, which also saturates the vegetation behind them, for example (see above right), while geometry and the passage of strong, firm brush strokes are also clearly in evidence through several of the pieces.

So too are pieces that feel much closer to the work of the great impressionists. For example, Gulf Afternoon and Morning Rushes, which can both be seen in the banner image for this review each off a sense of light, motion and the passage of time which leans them towards impressionism, the heavy brushwork evidenced in the former notwithstanding. Similarly, other pieces such as Hurricane Frolic have about them a wonderfully subtle tone of abstract.

Vision Of Beauty Art Complex: JolieElle Parfort

Thus, to offer a single encompassing descriptive style to this exhibition is – to me – doing the pieces offered within it something of as disservice. While Jolie’s art may well have a focus on post-impressionism, it encompasses so much more, and quite marvellously so, with a depth and richness that is completely captivating to the eye.

This beauty is enhanced particularly by the rooftop setting for part of the exhibition. With its wooden deck and piers, and wind-rippled water, this part of the exhibition draws the visitor into the rooftop display – and I would suggest perhaps flicking you viewer over to a midnight setting as well as viewing them in the ambient daylight; this again brings forth their depth and richness quite marvellously.

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