Adi Frith at Artful Expressions and a visit to the beach

Artful Expressions: beach

Currently on display at Artful Expressions Gallery, curated by Sorcha Sanvean (Sorcha Tyles), is an exhibition of images by Adi Frith (Adiuvo), a photographer whose work I had not previously encountered.

Once again, this is a small exhibit offering just six images, all of which are avatar studies featuring – I assume – Adi herself as the model. All are all very individual pieces, ranging from a deeply voyeuristic view of a couple engaging in adult play (Found) through to what might be seen as a simple, casual capture (Just Away). Between these are moments of contemplation (Tied) and what might be a reflection of love (Rose), with what might be a further moment of adult intimacy (Strapped) and another suggestion of voyeuristic opportunity (Give Up), although this might also be characterised as a moment of thoughtful reflection.

Artful Expressions: Adi Frith

All six images are finely cropped and post-processed to present captivating scenes, each with a story to tell – or a mystery to be explored (who does the languid, leash-holding hand belong to in Found? What thoughts are present within Give Up and Tied – and what preceded these moments? These are questions and stories only those who view the images can answer – and thus a visit very much is in order.

As well as the gallery space, Sorcha also provides a ground level garden and beach space, reached via the teleport within the gallery – although on my visit I found it dropped me a little too neatly into the foamy wash of tide. The beach area offers deck seating and a short garden walk up to a small café, making it an ideal place it catch your breath and perhaps sit and think about the art you’ve just seen up at the gallery.

Artful Expressions: beach

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Justine at Artful Expressions

Artful Expressions: Justine

Now open at Artful Expressions Gallery is a small, untitled exhibition of Second Life photographs by Justine Here (Justherforpix). Small though it might be, it is also a marvellous introduction to a photographer who – so I understand from talking to the Gallery’s curator, Sorcha Sanvean (Sorcha Tyles) – is unsure of her work. I’m not sure why; Justine has a remarkable eye for photographic composition and expression within our digital world.

Her skill is perfectly expressed in the six images offered for this exhibition. A mix of avatar studies and landscape images, each and every one of them is utterly exquisite. I’m often prone to discussing pictures in terms of the narrative they offer; I’m naturally drawn to doing so as words and expression drive me. Sometimes that narrative is rich, at others it is subtle. In these pieces it is simply extraordinary. Untitled, each piece naturally draws the eye and the imagination into seeing and telling a story about the moment in time – the moment in life so perfectly captured and framed with each.

Artful Expressions: Justine

And I do mean life; all six pieces breathe its very essence through their composition: the use of light, colour, tones, focus, depth. Similarly, the level of emotion conveyed in each piece is magnificent. These are not pictures simply to be seen; they offer themselves as works to be seen; they are images to be tasted and savoured; the stories within them to be experienced.

As such, I’ll say no more here – but I will urge you to go and see for yourself. This is a small, but truly elegant exhibition.

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Jules at the new Artful Expressions gallery

Artful Expressions

Artful Expressions, the boutique gallery curated by Sorcha Tyles, made its return to Second Life, with a new skyborne location and an exhibition of monochrome photography by Jules (GiulianaNicol).

The new gallery is offered on a rocky platform surrounded by just enough foliage to suggest a garden / woodland setting, giving it a pleasant outlook through the large windows and open front door (the latter guarded by an owl to prevent people walking outside and slipping off the edge of the rock). A little smaller than previous iterations of Artful Expressions, the gallery offers a cosy, warm space for exhibiting art and as a place where art lovers can hang out and make use of the corner coffee bar.

Artful Expressions: Jules

For her exhibition, Jules presents a set of six self-portraits, each of which offers a life study and a broader narrative into which it can be framed. Each is powerful in both presentation and the story to be found within it, perhaps made that much stronger through the use of a monochrome finish.

The narrative for each piece is suggested through both the image and its title – and I do recommend looking at each of these pieces both independently of their titles – that is, before taking a peep via Edit – and after. Doing so can often result each perhaps has two stories within it – one shaped by first seeing it, the second by the title itself; making a visit double the viewing pleasure.

Artful Expressions: Jules

A small, intimate exhibition of some genuinely engaging and imagination-stirring art marks the welcome return of a boutique gallery that has been missed these last few months.  It will remain open through until the end of November 2018.

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Artful Expressions (Niaoupolis, rated: Adult)

Kimmy LittleBoots at Artful Expressions

Artful Expressions: Kimmy LittleBoots

Kimmy LittleBoots is a highly regarded second Life photographer whose work graces many Flickr groups – and is often selected as a banner image for those groups. Specialising in avatar studies, she works in both colour and black-and-white, covering a broad spectrum of moods and settings, from the seemingly every day through to the sensual, to emotive self-studies.

Throughout February 2018, a small sampling of Kimmy’s work can be viewed at Artful Expressions gallery, curated by Sorcha Tyles. Simply entitled An Exhibition in Black and White, it features seven studies, each one of which embodies a specific feeling or condition in a beautifully evocative manner – a mouseover or right-click for Edit will reveal the title of each.

Artful Expressions: Kimmy LittleBoots

Each of the pieces on display is worth an essay in its own right; there is a richness of expression and depth of sentiment in each which is captivating. So much so that I found myself repeatedly drawn back to each image time and again, repeatedly drawn into its story.

In this, the use of black and white photographs is a masterful stroke. Being monochrome, the images are from the outset more easily seen as a whole statement. Yes, we are obviously drawn to the central figure in each, but as there are no strong colours either in the background or off to one side or the other, so we are not distracted into focusing on them. Instead, we are encouraged to see each picture as a whole, to appreciate the balance between figure and setting more evenly, taking in everything as a single expression of mood, thought, or condition. Thus, each image is brought to life far more effectively than had each been rendered in colour, drawing us ever more deeply into each one.

Artful Expressions: café

Exhibition in Black and White really does speaks for itself, although I’d perhaps suggest a title plaque for each would be of benefit, given how closely image and title are linked. For those with an interest in avatar studies and SL photography, it is an exhibition not to be missed, and I strongly encourage a visit to Artful Expressions to witness it. And while there, do take time to explore the gallery’s garden, which now features a cosy little beach side café offering a quiet corner in which to relax.

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Jes Mode at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Jes Mode

Now open at Artful Expressions, curated by Sorcha Tyles, is United States of Mind, the second solo exhibition of photography by Jes Mode (J3sus Mode). It features a total of eight studies, each focused on a specific state of mind / feeling / emotion.

Presented in muted tones, and a step away from Jes’ more usual use of black-and-white, these are considered, artful and provocative takes on their subject matter, using both Jes and his in-world partner and fellow artist, Cecilia Mode (Cecilia Nansen) as models.

Artful Expressions: Jes Mode

Each piece takes its title from the state of mind  / feeling being presented: apathy, breakdown, fear, hedonism, insomnia, nihilism, schizophrenia,  and vanity, and is accompanied by notes from the artist to give further expression to the piece.

For some of the art, the subject matter is presented in what may appear to be a relatively  straightforward manner: there is little doubting Schizophrenia, for example, with its figure bound within a straitjacket shaking his had so rapidly we literally see he is in two minds, while Breakdown offers a physical manifestation of collapse. Others are more nuanced in presentation, such as Hedonism, with not only its menage-a-tois, but also its more subtle hints at pleasure. Others appear to run slightly contrary to their title, or at least bind it with other outlooks / philosophical standpoints; Nihilism, for example, when taken with its accompanying text perhaps also suggests vanity and solipsism through the emphasis of self.

Artful Expressions: Jes Mode

Be this as it may, all deserve careful study, because they are perhaps more layered than may first appear to be the case – again, note the bottle of wine in Hedonism, the overall setting of Schizophrenia – the image itself perfectly positioned alongside of Fear, offering a visual as well as metaphysical link between the two subjects. Similarly, Apathy offers an evocative presentation in which not only are the two bodies positioned so as to suggest a lack of (sexual) interest in one another – or at least mutual passivity – the blurring of facial features speaks volumes suggestive of a total lack of interest / concern, each towards the other, adding further depth to the sense of apathy within their pose.

In short, these are all marvellous studies, skilfully executed representations of their subject matter, mirror reflections of their accompanying descriptions (consider Vanity and the quote Jes gives from Lou Reed, or the way Insomnia focuses the eye not on the figure, but on the shadow, echoing the idea of a copy of a copy, as quoted in Jes’ notes. All told, a captivating exhibition, and one which should not be missed.

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Zedekiah at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions

After a short hiatus from Second Life, Sorcha Tyles has re-opened her gallery Artful Expressions at a new location and with a new design – and a new exhibition.

The gallery now sits within a charming garden setting, with a beach at one end, a terrace sitting between sand and gallery, offering a cosy, open-air hang-out which encourages visitors to sit a while and enjoy the Sun  … and a little coffee.

Artful Expressions:  Zedekiah, (ZaynIanLutz)

A single display hall is offered inside the gallery building, presenting space for exhibitions by individual artists. For October, Sorcha is featuring the work of Zedekiah, (ZaynIanLutz). And if there is one word which should be used to describe his work, it is perhaps “atmospheric”.

This is an artist with an eye for conveying a mood, a story, a world, within a single frame. Whether producing a landscape or an avatar study, there is a sensitivity and richness to his work that draws one in. Of the eight images presented here, four sway towards monochrome in tone and style, the remaining four offering muted tones and colours. In both cases, whether purely or predominantly monochrome, or when using a broader palette of colour, a rich sense of mood is evoked. So much so, that within the avatar studies particularly, we are – often without clearly being about the see any expression on the face – able to feel the emotion being expressed.

Artful Expressions: Zedekiah, (ZaynIanLutz)

Only two of the images do not feature an avatar, either as their focus or as a part of the overall scene: Winter Trace and September. Both of these are equally as evocative, with the near-monochrome look of Winter Trace drawing one into a feeling of a cold, dark night – one perhaps with a little hint of menace in the way the shadows seem to be gathering the house into themselves, without even a hint of light from the windows to offer cheer or welcome. Thus, within it, there is perhaps the echo of a thought, we are home, but are we safe?

September, seen below right, by contrast, perfectly reflects the fading of summer and the gathering folds of winter. There is still sunlight enough in the sky to feel warmth, the trees still carry their leaves and the grass is still heavy with seed. But the soft colours, the billowing clouds and the icy edge of the blue sky warn us that winter is indeed coming.

Artful Expressions: Zedekiah, (ZaynIanLutz)

A superb exhibition from an outstanding artist, not to be missed.

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