Currently open at Artcare Gallery, the art hub curated and operated by Carelyna, is Une Sorte De… – “A Kind Of…”, by JadeYu Fhang.
JadeYu has a reputation for being one of the most visually evocative artists in Second Life, and her installations often plumb the depths of the human consciousness and psyche (examples: Roots and War, Everywhere and Nowhere and OpeRaAxiEty). She is also perhaps best known for her 3D installations (such as those mentioned above, offering deeply evocative, layered and expressive pieces – which can also be enigmatic when JadeYu sways in that direction. However, she is also a 2D artist, as Une Sorte De… reminds us.
Provided within a futuristic display space also designed by JadeYu, the exhibition opened on January 19th, 2023, and is presented sans any artist’s notes. However the 18 pieces presented – a mix of colour and greyscale images – combined with the exhibition’s title suggests these are images intended to convey a feeling and / or emotion or a sense of mood.
From the pictorial to the abstract by way of real and faux 3D elements, these are all highly individual works, exhibiting and intensity of image and form that deserve individual interpretation. As such, this is another exhibition for which I’m again not going to overlay with my personal reflections or reactions – I’d rather JadeYu’s work speak directly to you, and so encourage you to pay a visit to Une Sorte De… for yourself.
Currently open through to mid-August 2022 at ArtCare Gallery, curated by Carelyna, is Formless, a collection of 24 monochrome collages by Traci Ultsch, built using photographs and paintings, some or all of which might just be unfinished – hence the title: Formless.
Traci is typically self-effacing about the art on show, stating:
This exhibit follows on from the ‘Crash’ and ‘Overdose’ works from 2021 in being concerned with more personal subjects, this one specifically dealing with more recent events … They are not what they are. Or maybe they are, who am I to tell anyone what to think about any of this. Maybe it’s just a self indulgent ego driven attempt at getting attention in some over dramatic way.
For those who may not have witnessed either Overdose (reviewed here) or Crash (reviewed here) these were very personal pieces (Overdose dealing with the two faces of addiction, Crash a exploration of the nature of art and its relationship with both the artist and the observer); heady and rich subjects for exploration. Here, the pieces are – on the surface – more esoteric in nature; but they are far from being merely an attempt to gain attention, offering as they do a richness of expression and reflection on the likes of life, love, human nature, age, and relationships.
To start with, let’s take the manner in which they images have been set out; a huge amount of consideration has been given to theme, point and counter-point. Grouped into sets of three, each set with its own collective title. These triplets have then bee set out in pairs, two sets of three per wall, each pairing linked by their respective titles, which offer a mix of counter-point to one another (e.g. Just Like Heaven / Just Like Nothing) or a continuation of a central idea (e.g. Don’t Wake Me Up / I’m Dreaming of You).
Within the individual sets of three is a richness of metaphor that helps direct one to thoughts on the ideas of love and life, age, relationships, and so on. Some of these are richly expressive in their simplicity of approach, yet deeply layered in potential meaning.
The left and centre pictures within I Wish You Were Dead, for example, with the twisted shape (shrivelled leaf? slug?) offer both an evocation of the central wish in the most visceral of ways (assuming the object is a slug), and also – with it’s shape mindful of female genitalia – a cruel twist on the wish focused on barrenness / loss of sexuality.
However, there is a risk that in saying this much, I an artificially constructing a framework around these pieces outside of the artist’s core intent – which may equally be to offer a series of pieces we can chose to interpret through the lens of our own life experience and the events that have most recently affected us. As such, I’ll close my ramblings here and encourage you to visit formless via the SLurl below.
Ernst Jünger (29th March 1895 – 17th February 1998), is a complex figure from Germany’s history in the 20th Century. Born to an affluent family, he rejected his background, serving briefly the French Foreign Legion before serving in the German army throughout the First World War, seeing action in several battles and hard-fought skirmishes on the Western front, being wounded seven times – including to both the head and to the chest (the latter piercing a lung). During the Second World War, he again served in the German Army, where he was both an inspiration for, and had some involvement with, the German anti-Nazi movement (in fact, in 1943 he penned a proposal for peace with the allies which included the removal of Hitler from power and he was involved at the fringes of the 1944 Stauffenberg bomb plot to kill Hitler.
He is perhaps most well known for penning two works: In Stahlgewittern (literally “In Steel Weather” but given the English title Storm of Steel), published in 1920 which brought together his personal experiences of the Great War as recorded in the diaries he kept from 1914-1918; and Auf den Marmorklippen (“On Marble Cliffs”), published in 1939 and most readily seen as a parable against national socialism, written at a time when Jünger had rejected overtures from the Nazi Party on numerous occasions on account of his personal rejection of the German democratic movement and spoken out against liberalism as a whole.
Whilst Auf den Marmorklippen and In Stahlgewittern might be interpreted in several ways, the latter has come to be seen as an anti-war treatise and the former a warning against the rise of authoritarianism in any hue. In this, and given the way we appear to be re-treating elements of history experienced a century ago, both books perhaps have particular relevance today.
For Gem Preiz they offer metaphors for the stark choice humanity is facing: to allow ourselves to be ruined through the prettiness of nationalistic politics or to strive harder ad reach our fullest potential. He does this through a new exhibition of his fractal art in which he combines the titles of Jünger’s works, and which can be see at Carelyna’s ArtCare Gallery, itself in a new location.
Storm of Steel; On Marble Cliffs offer three rooms of Gem’s art. Within a central hall that forms the landing point, are six images mounted on marble walls that show the potential: gleaming cities that stand (or float) as havens of humanity. Bracketing this on either side are two further halls. In one, this theme to a gleaming future expressed through architectural marvels is continued – although at its centre is a reminder of the dangers inherent in our make-up that may still try to tear down all that we have – and might – achieve: black arms and hands that rise from the floor or drop from the ceiling, reaching out, fingers bent as if to grasp and tear and break whatever they find.
Within the other hall, we see the outcome in allowing the pettiness to prevail is revealed in the form of broken and smashed buildings, sitting with atmospheres heavy with smoke (or pollution) and in places lit by what appears to be fire or burning fires.
It might be easy to reconcile Storm of Steel; On Marble Cliffs just as a commentary on the situation in Ukraine; but as he notes – and I hope I’ve indicated here – he net is cast far wider. As such, the exhibition should be seen and appreciated free from preconceptions of our current political climate, just as Jünger’s works were both rooted in their political times but have meaning that reaches well beyond those times.
Do take note of the music suggestions included in the exhibition’s note card, available at the landing point, use the links to play the pieces via You Tube, if so minded.
August 26th, 2021 saw the opening of a joint exhibition at Carelyna’s ArtCare Gallery. featuring the work of two very different artists whose work nevertheless presents something of a whole when presented side-by-side.
Anja (Neobookie) describes herself as a Second Life photographer who enjoys exploring Second Life and capturing the places she visits – as witnessed with her Flickr stream. However, as she has demonstrated in recent exhibitions, she has a gift for creating pieces of surrealist art that perfectly encompass the richness of that movement, and at ArtCare she presents six large-format pieces in proof of this.
Each offers a backdrop of a wooden fence in front of which has been strung a washing line, and it is what is on the line that forms the focus of each piece. Offered in vibrant colours, these subject range from surf boards to toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes, passing by way of Minion handbags and melting ice lollies. and more.
These are images that initially appear simple in their presentation, rich in colour but which – for those who look – perhaps offer a little comment on life and living (might Minion Bags, for example a commentary on the drive for us all to conform as best we can to the dictates of modern consumerism, and Ice Ice Baby a reflection on the passage of time (or the brevity of summer?). But however you take them, there is no mistaking the joy and lightness each piece offers when simply taken in its ability to bring together the ordinary and the extraordinary to create completely something truly unique and engaging.
Therese Carfagno is an artist with an intriguing range of styles and presentation that can encompass real and Second Life photography, her work touching upon abstraction, collage, impressionism, expressionism and more.
The pieces offered at ArtCare very much reflect this richness; they are also offered as “families” or “collections” of themed images, ranging from pairs of pieces through to a quartet entitled Blood. Within them we can find abstraction in the form of Wall, collage in the triple set entitled Sophia and digital overlays with the Sita pairing – and more, including a touch of sensuality a triple set of monochrome pieces. However, the most striking set is that of Blood, a quartet of portraits, again monochrome, that offer a depth of narrative that forces the attention to come back to it over and over.
The contrast between these two small exhibitions couldn’t be stronger in terms of colour: Anja’s works are all vibrantly saturated in their use of colour, their brightness infectious. With the exception of the Wall and Sophia series, Therese’s selection is generally heavier in tone – if not mood; the colours more muted, and lean more towards monochrome. Individually, they are very different selections, yet together they offer a flow of art and style from one to the other that is impressively engaging.
Needless to say, a visit to this joint exhibition is highly recommended.
I hopped back to Carelyna’s ArtCare Gallery this week to take in the latest round of art exhibitions, and once again found a rich mix of art from Second Life and the physical world to appreciate.
I was initially drawn back to the gallery with the announcement of new exhibitions by Kimeu Korg (Kimeu) and Matt Thomson (MTH63), both of which are located on the lower level of the gallery space, although a trip to the upper level of the gallery also reveal art that captures the eye.
Kimeu is, for me, Second Life’s most noted surrealist artist. His work easily matches the likes of Max Ernst and René Magritte, and is unique manner in which it can so often blend elements from the physical world and Second Life to create vignettes – although at ArtCare, Procrastination focus solely on pieces produced within Second Life. These are simply delightful, each one a story unto itself, featuring Kimeu’s distinctive character, frequently laced with a gentle humour.
Matt Thompson built his reputation as a landscape photographer in Second Life, but has been spreading his canvas – so to speak – and with New Journeys presents a series of abstract paintings, the title doubtless a nod to this being a further expansion of his artistic expression. As Matt himself notes, abstractionism oft comes with convoluted explanations as to what each splash and swirl of colour represents (perhaps not always postulated by the artist), which can get in the way of simply enjoying the mix of colours and the suggestions of of life, motion, patterns and form.
And for those who care to read his bio, Matt has a wicked sense of humour (and a love of Douglas Adams, which makes him more than OK in my book 🙂 ).
The upper level of the gallery space features exhibitions by LikaCameo, Downboy (MarcJersey), April (Agleo Runningbear) and Jolie (JolieElle Parfort).
Known as April Louise Turner in the the physical world, Agleo is a woman of many talents – artist, shaman, teacher, poetess, to name but four. Here she presents a series of the most engaging paintings of animals what might be considered spirit paintings of the creatures involved. In the neighbouring hall, Jolie offers images from Second Life that have been processed to resemble paintings, forming another engaging collection.
However, and with due respect to Jolie and April, both of whom have been covered several times in these pages, I was particularly drawn to the exhibitions by LikaCameo and Downboy, both of whom are artists I’ve not previously encountered in Second Life.
Downboy is another artist who seeks to tell stories through his images – all of which have been produced in Second Life. However, his work is particularly attractive for the manner in which he uses soft tones, an almost brushed monochrome, and depth of life.
Lika, meanwhile, presents a series of the most incredible true life studies and portraits that deserve to be seen first-hand, as witnessed by the hero image at the top of this article.
I’m not sure how much longer the installations by April, Jolie, Lika and Downboy will remain at ArtCare (as noted above, Matt’s and Kimeu’s exhibitions have just opened and so will be around for about another month), so I do recommend dropping in to see them sooner rather than later.