CioTToLiNa’s Hope in Second Life

Solo Arte: Hope

Now open at Solo Arte, curated by Melania (MelaniaBis), is Hope, an exhibition of sculptures and art by CioTToLiNa Xue.

CioTToLiNa is an extraordinary artist, working primarily in 3D sculpture, although she also produces unique 2D art as well. She is entirely self-taught since joining Second Life, and I’ve long admired her work, having first encountered it at Art on Roofs in 2015, where she has a few pieces placed out as a part of the gallery’s setting, rather than directly on display. I was immediately captivated by her work, and when invited to present a full sim installation at LEA that year, I knew I wanted  CioTToLiNa – despite her own shyness – to share the opportunity with me, and worked to include a number of her pieces into that build (see: Impressions: a personal view of Second Life).

Solo Arte: Hope

Since that time, CioTToLiNa has clearly grown in confidence as an artist, producing ever more complex pieces which are not only beautiful and highly collectible (we have a number in the gardens of our island home), but also reflect her own interests / concerns for the world, and  how we relate as a species one to another and the world around us. So it is that she has produced pieces focusing on women’s rights, the environment, LGBTQ rights, racism and more, as well as pieces which reflect things like a love of music, thoughts on love and relationships, and so on.

With Hope, CioTToLiNa has selected some 24 of her pieces – three of them 2D art, the rest sculptures – which are displayed around the paths and canals of Solo Arte (itself a beautifully coordinated venue designed by Terrygold) and within one of the gallery buildings. These present many of the facets of her work and concerns, with several marvellously scaled up to fit the spaces within which they sit, offering a perfect opportunity for her work to be properly appreciated.

Solo Arte: Hope

These are evocative pieces, both in presentation and in naming. Many directly represent an emotion, reaction of desire – such as  Tenacia (Tenacity), Pace (Peace – using the CND symbol),  Il Desiderio (The Desire) and Escapology. Others are more layered in meaning, such as Babele (Babel), which carries within it assorted cultural references as well as reflections on relationships and the entire male / female dynamic.

What is particularly fascinating to me is the way other artistic influences on CioTToLiNa’s art have been incorporated with her work. For example, and as noted above, I first came across her work at Art on Roofs, which at the time was exhibiting Mistero Hifeng’s work. He also as a unique and evocative approach to sculpture in Second Life, and often moves within the same artistic circles as CioTToLiNa. Little wonder then, that one or two motfis that he perhaps pioneered in SL sculpture are reflected in some of the pieces included in Hope – such as with Donna Spremuta (Juicy Woman) and Salvezza (Salvation). However, in doing so, CioTToLiNa is by no means copying his approach: she is incorporating techniques into her work whilst producing something equally as unique and attention-holding.

Solo Arte: Hope

Hope is another superb exhibition at Solo Arte featuring a marvellous talent. It is a delight to visit and I have no hesitation in recommending you hop over and spend time wandering the canal side paths and gardens of Solo Arte to admire  CioTToLiNa’s work.

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Seven lilies, seven virtues and seven artists in Second Life

DaphneArts: Lilium

Now open at DaphneArts is Lilium, the second in a series of exhibitions focus on the mystical number seven, following on from The Endless (reviewed here).

The curators of DaphneArts, Angelika Corral and Sheldon Bergman (SheldonBR), who are also two of the seven artists participating in the exhibition, describe it in part thus:

Number seven is sacred and powerful. Pythagoras, the father of numerology, considered seven as the most spiritual of all the numbers. Seven is the number of divine perfection. Seven are the colors of the rainbow. Seven are the notes of the diatonic scale. There are seven ancient wonders of the world, seven days of the week, seven letters in the Roman numeral system, seven arts…

When Pope Gregory defined the Seven deadly sins, he also included a counter-balancing set of values, in a way to protect one against temptation from the deadly sins. The seven [heavenly] virtues … For this exhibition, seven photographers were invited to create a photo, each of them representing one of the seven virtues.

DaphneArt: Lilium – Temperance by Fenris

Lilium is itself Latin for “lily”, a symbol of virtue, as Angelika and Sheldon also note in their curator’s introduction to the exhibit, illustrating the point with the inclusion of an image The Annunciation by Paolo de Matteis.

Thus it is, with viewer correctly set, visitors to the exhibition start their journey in the chancel of a marble-like white cathedral (white obviously symbolic of virtue). A HUD is offered on arrival and should be worn, while overhead is a set of easy-to-follow steps guide people through ensuring they have their viewer correctly set-up (e.g. ensuring the required Windlight is selected and Advanced Lighting Model is enabled).

DaphneArts: Lilium – Patience by Magic Marker

From here, a walk through the nave of the cathedral to the porch brings people to the main exhibition space, progress to it marked by the lyrics – in Latin of the Elven Song, or Elfen Lied, as featured in the Japanese manga series of that name, the lyrics based on biblical passages and the hymn Ave Mundi Spes Maria. Beyond the porch is an open platform set against a uniform backdrop and on which are arranged seven gilded lilies.

Approaching any of these lilies will cause it to open, revealing the art apparently “held” inside it. At the same time, the title of the art – the virtue it represents – and the name of the artist are revealed by the HUD.

DaphneArt: Liluim

The images / virtues are, by artist: Charity – Inexorably; Chastity – Sheldon Bergman; Diligence – Harbour Galaxy; Humility – Kimeu Kamolla; Kindness – Angelika Corral; Patience – Magic Marker, and Temperance – Fenris. Each is obviously a personal representation of the virtue it depicts, however each carries a degree of symbolism which may be related to the virtue it represents, to virtue as a whole or to the mysticism of seven.

Lilium is a further nuanced ensemble exhibition built around a central theme, rich in symbolism and interpretation. And for those curious about Elfin Lied, I’ll leave you with this.

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Haveit’s Elastic Garage in Second Life

UTSA: Elastic Garage

Sometimes magic is elusive. In the dark, in a large crowded storage space with one hanging light bulb: the realm of shadows and highlights, everything is sculpted of wonder. A broken down car dreams of the morning sky. An old-fashioned white porcelain bathtub with rusted scars, broken furniture, a collection of rocks in little cloth bags hanging from a beam, yellowing slides and photos from the old days stowed in a corroded file cabinet … the air tempered with repeated phrases of Prokofiev that my mother is practising on the piano in the distant living room … This was the garage of my childhood, where my visits were frequent in search of all manner of treasures to furnish the little cities I was building in the garden.

Thus Haveit Neox introduces Elastic Garage, his installation now open at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s ArtSpace. And indeed, on entering the exhibition area, visitors are confronted with the bric-a-brac which might have been gathered over time, and cherished, before being put away in the garage of the mind.

UTSA: Elastic Garage

Filing boxes lay stacked against the walls, a child’s old railway track lies on the floor, cabinets and boxes scattered around, the bath toppled on its side and the broken-down car parked to one side. Memories from childhood scattered around, spiders and their cobwebs covering some. but so is there more: memories of art builds, fragmented and scattered among the bric-a-brac.

Sitting atop some of the filing boxes, for example, is a telescope. While this may well be a childhood  memory, it might also be a reflection of Haveit’s Paper Observatory, first unveiled in 2014, and the successor to his Paper Tower. On the floor by the bodywork of the old car sits a tiny city, streams of cars rolling away from it over elevated roads; a reflection, perhaps of Haveit’s Miniature Goal and his wider concern for the environment. Inside the cabinets and upright boxes, partially hidden and awaiting discovery – just like memories in a draw or cupboard of a garage – are paintings and images, again perhaps echoing past installations Haveit has presented in-world.

UTSA: Elastic Garage

Elastic Garage is a both an expression of art and of memory; personal elements from life mixed with personal expressions of life. It makes for a fascinating visit, and will remain open through September and into October.

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Fantasy art and Fragmented Visions

Commune Utopia: Dilligraf (M8TY)

Open at the Art Meadow at Commune Utopia is an exhibition of images by Dilligraf (M8TY). It features sixteen studies of female avatars, each presented in something of a fantasy form, and they are all quite stunning.  Nudity is present in some of the pictures, but not, I would venture to suggest, enough to make any of the NSFW.

These really are superb pieces, a rich mix of full length, partial and head-and-shoulder studies. Each is beautifully produced and presented, and each has a story to tell – some quite evocatively so. I confess to having been quite captivated by all of them, but one in particular caught my attention and held it again on a repeat visit. Essence of Time (below, right), is an extraordinary piece – which is not to diminish any of the others in any way.

Commune Utopia: Dilligraf (M8TY)

Also open now, but at the Surreal Dreaming gallery is Fragmented Visions, a series of eight images by Norton Lykin.

“Reflecting on nature. love, perception and cognition I see clearly that what we perceive as reality is a flux depending on our ideas, history and conditioning,” Norton states in the notes accompanying the images. “That the present moment feeds us with all kind of possible realities. Throughout this there is one stable factor, love, which can take us trough everything, love of this being which in its imperfection is perfect, wholesome. We are in this journey called life given the opportunity to be open and question our ideas and the histories we tell and this is my project.”

Surreal Dreaming: Norton Lykin

All of the images are best viewed with the viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled. Seven of the images offer almost abstract interpretations of scenes,each of them using either bold colours or vertical and square overlays. The result is a striking – if hard to interpret – series of images presented in a large format.

The eighth, entitled Towards the Light, is  a marvellous use of a fresco-like form, layered textures to create a fabulous sense of depth and reflection. It’s absolutely essential to view this with ALM active – and to camera from side to side before the image to full appreciate with artistry and depth within it.

Surreal Dreaming: Norton Lykin

Both of these exhibition make for an interesting visit, and both are small enough to be enjoyed as a pair of back-to back visits.

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