Kultivate Select Summer themed exhibition in Second Life

Kultivate Select Gallery

Sunday, June 25th marks the opening of the Kultivate Select Gallery’s June exhibition at Water Haven.

All artists invited to exhibit at the gallery must have previously exhibited with Kultivate, and are asked to display in accordance with any theme set for the exhibition – this month’s being “Summer”.

The June exhibition features the artists Bri Graycloud, CalystiaMoonShadow, captainofmysoul, Catalina Staheli, Inara Pey, John Brianna, Karma Weymann, talligurl, Tisephone and Veruca Tammas.The opening for the exhibition is at 13:00 SLT, and will feature live vocal artist Nina Bing, who will be performing through to 14:00 SLT.

Kultivate Select Gallery

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Orientalism in Second Life

Orientalism

Open now at the Gedenspire II Gallery, curated by Walter Gedenspire, is Orientalism. The title and focus of the exhibition – an examination of patronising representations of the Middle East in art – are taken from Edward W. Said’s 1978  book of the same name.

Displayed across the gallery’s two floors are over 60 images, together with signage bearing a wealth of information on the subject. The lower floor primarily focuses on paintings by 19th century French artists – Pierre RenoirEugène Delacroix, Jean Ingres, Jean-Léon Gérôme and Henri Matisse (the later spilling over into the 20th century). These are supported by other western views of the Middle East: a poster from the 1966 film Khartoum, a post of Rudolph Valentino in Arab-style garb, cover art for an edition of A.E.W Mason’s The Four Feathers, and two paintings by Pablo Picasso.

Orientalism

The selected art very much points to the habit of painters in the 19th century – some of whom never travelled to the Middle East – romanticised the western view of Arabia – to inject a strong, almost patronising, western fantasy view of the East. Even among those who did make the journey eastwards, be it to Arabic states or places like Algeria, their work was heavily influenced by the Romantic movement, which reached its peak alongside the rise of French Orientalism, and western erotic leanings. Renoir went so far as to be outright dismissive of the “genuine article” he encountered during his travels.

The selected paintings are reflective of all of this, and the information boards expand on the art and the artists in an informative, easily digestible narrative.  Meanwhile, on the upper floor is a much broader display, covering cities / architecture, the influence of oriental clothing on western high fashion, and the more romantic views of the “oriental landscape”. Occupying one end of this floor is a small display of art by Osman Hamdi Bey, an Ottoman administrator who became enamoured of French Orientalism to the point of studying under two of the foremost exponents of the form, Jean-Leon Gerome and Gustave Boulanger.

Orientalism

For those who enjoy art and / or history, Orientalism is an interesting exhibition, nicely informative without being overbearing in the amount of information on offer. The gallery is nicely decorated in a style suggestive of Moorish interior styling, and for those who feel in the mood, a couple of “Arabic” costumes (female and male) are on sale in the gallery foyer at L$100 each.

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Floating worlds and Dutch proverbs in Second Life

The Vordun: Pictures of the Floating World

Now featured at The Vordun Museum and Gallery  curated by Jake Vordun, are two new exhibitions Caitlyn and I recently dropped in on, and which make for an engaging visit.

The first, and most recent, is Pictures of the Floating World, occupying the gallery’s South Wing. This takes visitors in to the world of ukiyo-e,(literally “picture[s] of the floating world) a form of Japanese art using woodblock prints and paintings which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries.  Ukiyo (“floating world”) refers to the hedonistic lifestyle enjoyed by the  merchant class of Edo (modern Tokyo) who were at that time benefiting the most of the city’s economic expansion, and who became one of the prime audiences for the art, purchasing it to decorate their homes.

The Vordun: Pictures of the Floating World

Much of this is explained in the foyer to the exhibit, via an informative wall panel together with notes on how ukiyo-e were / are made (see the image below). Such is the design of this foyer area, it is as much a part of the exhibition as the images themselves, and deserves the time taken to read the information offered. Beyond it, 20 images of ukiyo-e art are presented, each with its own information tag which provides the name, artist and date of creation for the piece.

If I’m totally honest, I’d have preferred the prints to be somewhat larger: ukiyo-e is a beautiful art form, and the small size of the works here do make it difficult to fully appreciate some of them, and having to zoom a lot can intrude into one’s appreciation of individual pieces. But make no mistake, the is an exhibit well worth seeing and appreciating – I particularly like the central themed display of five images focused on the shamisen musical instrument.

The Vordun: Pictures of the Floating World

Also on the south side of the gallery is Proverbs of the Low Countries, which opened in May. Reached via a short hallway, it comprises a single, large reproduction of Pieter Bruegel The Elder’s The Blue Cloak (or Netherlandish Proverbs or Flemish Proverbs or The Topsy-Turvy World, depending on your preference), painted in 1559. This is a truly remarkable piece which may at first seem a chaotic, nonsensical rendering of somewhat comical people; in fact it contains no fewer than 112 illustrations of Dutch language proverbs and idioms, offered together as a commentary on human folly.

Finding your way around the 112 proverbs – many of which transcend Dutch use and will be recognisable to English speakers (and probably familiar to those from other European nations as well) – is made possible through the use of a dedicated HUD. Instructions on obtaining this are provided on the wall of the hallway leading to the painting, so please be sure to read and follow them in order to be able to properly appreciate the piece.

The Vordun: The Blue Cloak (1559) by Pieter Bruegel The Elder

Floating Worlds and Proverbs are two considered, informative exhibitions which again demonstrate both the uniqueness of The Vordun in the art presented there, and just how informative / educational / enjoyable an art exhibition can be in Second Life.  Don’t forget as well, that when visiting the gallery, you can also enjoy the long-running European Masters, 300 Years of Painting (which you can read about here), and Winning a delightful exhibition showcasing the 51 winning entries from four years of The Arcade’s photography competition.

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An ensemble of art at Blue Orange

Blue Orange – Gitu Aura

Currently on display at Blue Orange, the music and arts venue in Second Life curated by Ini (In Inaka), is an ensemble exhibition of 2D and 3D art featuring work by Cica Ghost, Theda Tammas, Rebeca Bashly, Jarla Capalini, Gitu Aura, and Ini herself.

One of the delights of this particular venue is the layout; the warren-like design of the venue, with its feeling of disused subway station, ignored by the trains rushing by in a blur, adds considerable atmosphere to Blue Orange both as a gallery space and a music venue. A hallway, lined with images of Blue Orange events taken by NicoleX Moonwall, connects the landing point with the music venue, and the first art space lies at the end of this hallway, through a hole in the wall.

Blue Orange – Jarla Capalini

This space is devoted to displaying thirteen pieces by Jarla Capalini. Split between landscapes and avatar studies, they have all been carefully post-processed to resemble paintings, and the results are more than eye-catching. The landscapes have a richness to them which suggests oil on canvas, while the avatar studies perhaps lean more to watercolour or pencils on paper and have the feel of studio pieces, rather than of finished works. The contrast between the two styles combines to give this display further depth.

The second art space is best reached via the double doors at the end of the landing area’s platform. Split into two levels, this large space features Gitu’s and Ini’s 2D art, and a single piece by Rebeca entitled The Great Escape. Gitu’s work, Colourful Dreams features ten pieces, all of which have a post-processed, art-like finish to them, albeit one leaning more towards a digital feel with a touch of abstract in places. Between these two, and around the stairwell leading to the lower level, are three dramatic, large-format pieces by Ini, which perhaps set the tone for the main display on the lower level.

Blue Orange – Theda Tammas

Labrinto, by Theda Tammas, is a dramatic powerful piece, with slight hint, perhaps of nightmares (or at least darker dreams) and violence. As the name suggests, this is a labyrinth, defined by crystalline walls and within which bronze like figures are cast, individually and in pairs. Frozen in time, their skins are etched as jigsaws, each with pieces missing, their expressions sometimes hinting at the darker edge to the piece.

Sharing the same space as Labrinto, and located on the other side of the dividing stairway is a far more whimsical piece by Cica Ghost. Between the two, and against the wall, sit is single door. open it, and a TP button will return you to the club.

Blue Orange – Cica Ghost

As noted, Blue Orange is an atmospheric venue, whether you visit for the music or the art, and the current set of exhibitions are well worth take the time to see. Should you appreciate your time there, do please consider making a donation towards the continued presence of the venue for the enjoyment of everyone.

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