Ani’s Art by Nature in Second Life

Art By Nature

Art By Nature is the name Ani (Anibrm Jung) uses for her physical world photography presented through Second Life. I’ve covered her work in the past (see here and here), as I’ve always found it a stunning tour-de-force of photography sans the need for post-processing; and I’m happy to be able to say that she has returned once again to hosting her own gallery space in-world, this time located on the mainland region of Gimchi.

Based in the Netherlands, Ani is an award-winning photographer who has been active in Second Life since 2006. She  specialises in photographing nature – hence Art by Nature – and captures many of her images in her own garden using only her camera and natural light. Everything is framed directly through the viewfinder, and no cropping nor image manipulation is used after the fact. In this way, we are able to see each picture exactly as she did when taking it, allowing us to share her own sense of closeness with her subjects.

Art By Nature

The result of this are images that are completely captivating in their depth and presentation, which Ani rightly displays in-world in a large format (although I believe her work is resizeable post-purchase). Split across two floors, her new gallery presents pieces that combine her marvellous work with the macro lens with her broader landscape work, offering the visitor a rich mix of her art.

Broadly speaking, the ground floor focuses on Ani’s landscape work and features some truly stunning photos of sunrises and sunsets, the majority making beautiful use of water and light to produce genuinely wonderful images. On the upper floor, the focus is towards Ani’s macro work – and this really has to be seen to be fully appreciated. It is in her close-up images of flowers and Ani captures the majesty of nature we can all too easily take for granted when captivated by the broader scenes of the world that nature presents to us.

Art By Nature

From the delicate touch of a bee collecting pollen through to the beauty of trees and contrails caught against a sunset to the playful delight of a cat, there is so much here to capture the eye, making a visit more than worthwhile.

All of the images displayed are available to buy, and if you do visit the gallery, please consider a donation towards its upkeep.

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The natural beauty of oYo’s art in Second Life

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Opening on Saturday October 13th, 2018 on the mezzanine level at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is an exhibition of photography by  oYo (Oyona). Offering a mix of landscape and avatar studies, it encompasses a sublime sense of “natural” photography that has enormous depth  and, in the case of many of the images, considerable narrative substance.

For the exhibition, the mezzanine area has been converted so as to give a feeling of being outdoor – almost somewhere very close to the sea or up on moorland. Open sky forms the walls and ceiling, while the floor is a mix of scrub grass and shrubs through which sharp tongues of rock poke forth.

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Within this space 22 photographs are arranged, mixing monochrome with full colour with the majority presented in softer tones and finishes that adds an extra dimension to them. What is striking about many of the photos is oYo’s use of camera placement and angle; the construction of many of the avatar-centric images are such that while carefully composed and comported, they actually have the sense of being spur-of-the-moment shots, pictures captured through happenstance rather than design and pose.

This is immediately evident on arriving on the mezzanine. To the left of the entrance sit What Do You Expect?, Take Care and Emo (all seen in the top image). All three have been composed to present a specific focus and emotional response. But through the use of lighting, shadow, angle, soft focus, it is as if each was caught entirely by chance: a camera being used and raised in mid-conversation or when the subject was least expecting it.

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Thus the story within each of them becomes broader, encompassing the “person behind the lens” as much as the subject and setting: what was going on immediately before the picture was taken? What words were being exchanged? were both parties in Take Care aware that this was perhaps the last photo one would take of the other, a natural falling of shadow as the image was taken now serving to add to the stirring of emotion and memory whenever the taker of the photograph looks at it?

The landscape photos offered in the exhibition demonstrate a similar seasoned and skilled eye for composition, colour, tone and framing, all of which generates a narrative well beyond the photo itself. This is again evident from the very first image seen on entering: Le Rivage (again seen in the top image, on the left). A marvellous close-up of cormorants offered in monochrome and soft focus, the framing perfectly captures the moment at which some of the birds start to demonstrate agitation, wings spreading perhaps aware of the not-too-distant photographer. But so does it bring to mind the story of how it came to be taken: the careful manoeuvring downwind of the birds, edging over sand and rock or through wet marsh, constantly aware that push things too far, and the birds will take flight; then the use of a telephoto lens, perhaps crouched uncomfortably…

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Time and again this storytelling comes to the fore in so many ways: the happy-go-lucky, out-of-the-window “holiday” shot of Saint-Martin, to the lonely beauty and pathos  – again both in front of and behind the lens of Tout Refaire (second image from top in this article).

These are all images that are rich in life and emotion as well as offering an unforced guide to the art and artistry of photography. Most definitely an exhibition to be seen. The formal opening will take place at 13:00 SLT on the afternoon of Saturday, October 13th, and the exhibition itself should be open through the first half of November.

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Alo’s Black and Colours in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Black and Colours

Opening on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 12:00 noon SLT is a new installation by Alo (Aloisio Congrejo). Black and Colours is being hosted in The Womb, the recently revamped exhibition space at DiXmiX Gallery. And I have to say, that it is a curious piece.

Lacking liner notes from the artist, the installation is a multi-faceted piece entirely open to interpretation. Within the darkened hall is a mix of 2D the 3D elements, some of which are presented more-or-less as “traditional” photos; others appear to be 3D images offered 2D images; some are strongly abstract in nature while others mimic a polarisation approach similar to that found used by 3D movies to present what appears to be 2D art in 3D. All of which adds up to a richly diverse installation.

DiXmiX Gallery: Black and Colours

As might be expected from reading the title of the installation, there is a deliberate play through between black and the use of colours – most notably red and yellow, together with that other neutral – white. This is itself highly effective in drawing the eye into the installation, while the linear aspect in much of the art adds a geometric dimension to the entire installation that allows the wall mounted elements (together with the figures that might be close to them) to both exist independently to one another, and yet also be bound together by the white-on-black pattern of lines on the floor.

This subtle linking may well not be initially apparent, the eye perhaps initially being drawn to a colourful, strongly abstract free-standing scene within the hall. At first looking like paper shapes patterned in swirls and lines of black-and-white or red-and-black, skewered by red, yellow and black pins forced into the floor, these shapes are transformed by camming around them into  what might be dancing couples caught in a complex set of tangos performed to unheard music.

DiXmiX Gallery: Black and Colours

This abstract element is bookended on either side along the length of the hall by Alo’s photo images, which I confess to finding the most eye-catching. Furthest from the floor sculpture is a series of enticing white-on-black images of a near-naked woman. Marvellously lit, this series of images looks almost 3D in its execution, each of the images emphasising a different element of her pose: full body, booted legs, gloves arms with turned-away head between… In their midst is a further version of the image set behind 3D elements, all of which combine to suggest – from a distance, 2D art projected as a 3D piece.

The other display is a subtle and complex set of images of a woman’s head which I strongly recommend camming across slowly to fully appreciate them. Each is a layered construct, designed to mimic a polarised 3D effect, something which comes into focus (quite literally) as the camera faces them and glides from one side to the other. Not only does this highlight the “polarising” element, it also brings forth the subtle shift in colour tones used within the images.

DiXmiX Gallery: Black and Colours

I confess I have absolutely no idea how to interpret or quantify Black And Colours – or even determine if it needs interpreting in any way; I also admit there are elements to the piece that escape my ability to quantify. But this does not diminish  Black and Colours in any way; it simply means this is a piece very open to personal interpretation throughout, and thus an installation that should be witnessed first-hand.

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The artefacts of love and lust in Second Life

Artefatos, the G.T.B.H. Project

The hotel sits alongside a canal, the one building lit within the gathering gloom of night. Limned in teal, the entranceway beneath the heavy awning looks cold even in the gloom, but inside is the warm yellow glow of ceiling lights offering a more friendly invitation to come inside, while more of the warm illumination pours out of the entrance leading up to the hotel’s rooms.

This is clearly a discrete establishment: the fact that the rooms can be accessed without the need to pass through the lobby area once a room is booked means patrons – and their guests – can come and go without too much notice. Thus, it is the perfect setting for a lover’s tryst – and for Artefatos (Artefacts), a provocative story-as-art installation by Ash (Ashratum), the latest exhibition presented at the G.B.T.H. (Grab By The Horns) Project, curated by Megan Prumier and Marina Münter.

Artefatos: The G.T.B.H. Project

The hotel lobby offers an introductory guide to the installation. In short, ensure you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (absolutely essential, as the installation uses projected lighting and effects) – just go to Preferences > Graphics and ensure the ALM option is checked. Then climb the stairs to each floor in the hotel and visit each room in turn – there are two rooms to a floor for a total of 6 visits (although the 6th room offers more of a farewell, suggestive that the individuals in the stories might all be one in the same), each with a teleport door that should be touched to “enter” the room (touching the door also returns visitors to the landing “outside”) so they might proceed to the next door.

Each room forms a chapter of a story – the meeting of people brought together in love and – particularly – lust; erotic and sexual encounters. Written from a personal perspective (that of the / a woman in each story), they cast those visiting the rooms into multiple roles.

Artefatos, the G.T.B.H. Project

The most obvious of these roles as that of the storyteller’s male lover; written as recollections of recent encounters. In this, some might be stories designed to titillate and arouse as a kind of foreplay between lovers; in others they might be seen as expressions of regret for what has passed, while other hint at an unburdening of hurt. At the same time, there is an air of revealing secrets through the stories, casting the visitor almost into the role of confidante – although this is overshadowed by the sense that we are in fact voyeurs, having stumbled across the intimate letters from lover to former lover.

Thus, Artefatos presents a layering of interpretation through the stories, which are themselves made further tangible through the objects found within each of the room. These both reflect the story specific to each room whilst also casting visitors into two roles: that of the male lover – the props making us very much part of the story; and (again) that of voyeur, witnessing individual moments from each story from the outside, through the study of the artefacts that have been left behind.

Artefatos, the G.T.B.H. Project

There is more to these objects than passive illustration, however. For those who speak Portuguese, approaching the items in each room allows the story to unfold through the spoken word via local sounds. For those who don’t speak Portuguese, a note card giver in the wall of the entrance hall to each room will supply the story in English, while extracts are projected onto each bedroom wall – hence the need to have ALM enabled.

The audio project can sometimes be disconcerting, as it is possible to stand within the room and hear multiple voices; but it can also deepen the sense of immersion within the installation, regardless of whether or not you understand what is being said. The passages layered one over the other can become fragments of memory; words said in the past, echoing in our ears. Thus we become not only the man to whom each story is projected, but the male half of the story as he perhaps revisits the scene of an encounter, hearing once again the words said to him in its wake or aftermath.

Artefatos, The G.T.B.H. Project

A fascinating installation offering a different perspective on artistic expression in Second Life, Artefatos further establishes the G.T.B.H. Project as a forward-thinking gallery space in-world, and will remain open through until November 8th, 2018.

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Moni’s Changing Moods in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Changing Moods

Monique Beebe makes a further return to Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, with a new exhibition entitled Changing Moods, a must-see exhibition, although part of it should be considered NSFW.

This is Moni’s third appearance at the gallery, and having covered her first two – Hidden Faces (see here for more) and Sensuality (see here for more), I confess to having been excited by the news of her return, as I’ve found her to be one of the most sensuous, evocative artist and – given she is generally the subject of her own work – models in Second Life.

The traits of sensuality, strength, vulnerability and expressive beauty seen in both Hidden Faces and Sensuality are clearly present in the 14 images presented within Changing Moods, which takes a different direction to the two prior exhibitions by presenting all of the photographs in monochrome. This is a particularly striking decision as it richly casts Moni’s work in a new light: black-and-white photography can often lead to bold images bereft of the greater softening afforded by the blending of multiples hues and tones common in colour photography; it also tends to draw the eyes into the central figure(s) within a tableau.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Changing Moods

This is very much the case with many of the images Moni present here. But while perhaps appearing more hard-edged than might have been the case had they been produced in colour, the monochrome presentation also serves to heighten the beauty within each piece and – to my eye – induces more of a feeling that we are witnessing Moni’s inner perspective of herself, as shaped by her moods and desires – some of which might be considered leaning towards the erotic.

Narrative is another powerful factor within Moni’s photography, and this is also brought to the fore within the pieces offered in this exhibition. Take for example Robotoca, Almost Real, and The Mask We All Wear. All offer up ideas of identity, place and self-image in an increasingly technological world where the demands to reveal all perhaps causes us to react with a greater desire to hide, while the pressure to conform evokes the need to be strikingly  different.

Moods and desire as also powerfully incorporated into these works in a variety of ways, from the direct – as with Captured, with its strong portrayal of erotic desire -, through the almost wistful subtext contained within InnocentThe Look and (to a degree) Wet.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Changing Moods

There is also something else within these images which is salient for the times in which we live. It is an over-arching narrative that collectively runs through all of them and which, in so doing, completely alters the perspective they present. This is entirely intentional on Moni’s part, as Dido explains in the liner notes accompanying the exhibition:

Moni presents work that shows how her ‘Doll’ is created. She uses artificial arms, legs and face to illustrate this process. Moni gets the impression in SL women are often treated like Dolls; pampered, loved and dumped after usage.

When viewed with this in mind, the context of the images presented in Changing Moods is dramatically altered. We are no longer in the mindspace of personal thoughts, moods, and desires, but have stepped into that questionable space of how – as Dido notes – women can so often  be regarded and treated as objects. Thus is the subtext present within the images dramatically shifted. Take the way in which Captured, for  example, moves from being a sensually secretive desire within the mind of the subject to become a darker voyeuristic (and subjegative) desire to see a woman so helpless on the part of an observer.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Changing Moods

Evocative, provocative, challenging and captivating is another stunning exhibition of photography by an exceptionally talented artist, Changing Moods is open through until the end of October 2018, and one not to be missed.

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The portraits of Rofina Bronet in Second Life

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

Currently open at the Diotima Art Gallery curated by Redi (Red Bikcin), is an exhibition of avatar portraiture by Rofina Bronet.

I confess that prior to receiving an invitation to view this exhibition, I was unfamiliar with Rofina’s art, and that having visited this exhibition, I find her approach to presenting avatars intriguing.

On display are eighteen portraits in a mix of colour and monochrome images that are striking in their presentation. The approach taking with each of them is to focus closely on the subject’s head, an approach that in many of the images offers a unique perspective on the individual in the picture.

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

At times this can be a little disconcerting in the way it gives prominence to facial features and the shape of the subject’s head. The result can be a little jarring when viewing the images, but the result is also visually striking, drawing  – challenging, even – the observer to closely study each image.

Many of the images – notably those in monochrome – offer the subject as the sole focus of the image, and have been taken in such a way that the subject is not looking at the camera. Rather, they are either looking to one side of the camera, or ignoring it completely, as if something out-of-frame has captured their attention.

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

This gives an added depth to the studies that is captivating. By having them appear as if they are focusing on something other than the camera, the portraits take on a unique and personal life of their own. Rather than appearing posed and framed, they come across as pictures taken in the moment; a chance event. Combined with the above-mentioned perspective carried within each image, this approach draws the observer into both studying the subject more deeply and create a narrative around that “moment in time” in which  the image seems to have been captured.

Alongside of these images are a number – notably in colour – are several in which the subject is looking at – or towards – the camera. These images are presented against a broader backdrop, one which combines with the subject to again create a narrative within the image; one that also brings the subject naturally to life.

Diotima Art Gallery: Rofina Bronet

This is a fascinating exhibition, and for me, an engaging introduction to the art of Rofina Bronet, one I enjoyed receiving.

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