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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July at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Cecilia Nansen Mode

The July exhibition at Sorcha Tyles’ Artful Expressions gallery opens on Saturday July 1st, and in keeping with the gallery’s recent expansion, features three guest artists exhibiting their work: Rose Hanry Jarom (RoseHanry), Lawrence D. Pryce and Cecilia Nansen Mode (Cecilia Nansen). All three present displays focused on avatar studies, each presenting an individual style and approach to their work.

Artful Expressions marks Cecilia’s debut exhibition, and on the strength of the images she’s selected, this will not be her last. As a tangential coincidence, her partner, Jes Mode, is exhibiting at DixMix gallery in his first public outing with his photography (see my recent review in these pages). Having now seen their respective work, I’d love to see them exhibit together – and may see if I can arrange that for Holly Kai Park!

Working in both colour and black-and-white, Cecilia’s pieces are exquisite, and I particularly like the  fact that within the nine pieces, she has presented three sets of three, each offering a narrative flow or thematic continuance between the images in each set.

Artful Expressions: Lawrence D. Pryce

Lawrence D Pryce says of himself, “I’m just a hermit who took up photography as a means to encourage my introverted personality.” Introverted he may well feel, but his art speaks volumes. We’re perhaps all used to seeing studies from in world which are carefully posed and framed to tell a particularly story, but while these are all clearly posed, each is so natural in setting and tone, there is not a single story to be told. Instead, each offers a host of tales in the making – and, perhaps, each offers a glimpse into the artist’s thoughts and his embrace of being alone.

Rose is not only a photographer, but a designer of poses for her work as well, noting that she likes to bring setting, windlight and pose together when taking photos. The result is some of the most natural images I’ve seen for a while. Carefully crafted again they may well be, but so to are they natural – and expressive of a story. I freely admit to being entranced by the lifelike depth present in Dream dreams no one else can see (below).

Artful Expressions: Rose Hanry Jarom

Once again, Sorcha has selected three outstanding artists who come together to present an exhibition linked by a central theme of avatar studies, whilst each offers unique perspectives and a unique approach to their work. The exhibition officially opens at 14:00 SLT, with music by DJ Julianna. Don’t forget when visiting the gallery, you can also enjoy Sorcha’s own photography.

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A new home for Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expression: Sorcha Tyles

Artful Expressions, the boutique gallery curated by Sorcha Tyles, is well into its May exhibition, and now has a new, expanded home.

Newly relocated on a sky platform 1000 metres above ground, the gallery now occupies two L-shaped buildings built around a central square which can be used for opening events. The buildings provide a greater amount of space for the monthly exhibitions as well as for Sorcha’s own art, whilst retaining much of the homely feel of the original, ground-level gallery space.

Artful Expressions: Magic Marker

With the move comes an expansion in the number of artists exhibited each month. While Sorcha will continue to invite two artists  / photographers to display a number of their works at the gallery each month, she now additionally runs a contest via Flickr, inviting those interested in exhibiting their work to post an image to her Flickr group.

Each month, a picture will be selected by Sorcha and two of her friends – Hayael Bracula and Ninna Dazy – from those submitted, and the artist / photographer will be invited to display some of their work at an upcoming exhibition at Artful Expressions.

Artful Expressions: Hillany Scofield

For May the invited artists are Hillany Scofield and I’m a Magic Marker (SquarePegRoundHole69) – or Magic Marker for short. Hillany really needs no introduction to the world of SL art, being an accomplished photographer and artist who has exhibited widely in-world, and who also has her own gallery space (see me most recent review here). Magic Marker is more of a – to me at least – new name in the art world, and she offers a disarmingly sweet set of biographical notes:

For me, Second Life is a way to escape into a novel that you write yourself, but with me, the story is generally without a plot. Some images are cathartic, some are just because I like to look at pretty things. 🙂  I hope you like them too. And thank you for visiting. ❤  

Artful Expressions: Magic Marker

Her work is an interesting mix of avatar studies, the quirky and the eye-catching, often featuring bold colours which demand our attention.

The selected entry from the April competition is another well-established and widely known artist in Second Life: Goodcross, whom we had the pleasure of seeing exhibit at Holly Kai Park in 2016. Each artists presents a total of nine images for the exhibition, which for this month are all avatar studies / portraits, with each display area clearly noticed and biographical information on the artists readily available. Sorcha’s own work is offered in the foyer area of one of the buildings where coffee and a guest book are on offer, while a cosy hang-out area can also be found in another wing of the gallery.

Artful Expressions: Goodcross

The current exhibition will run through until the end of May 2017.

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Artful Expressions in Second Life: Pan and Sven

Artful Expressions: Pan

The April exhibition at Artful Expressions, the boutique gallery curated by Sorcha Tyles, opened on Saturday, April 1st, 2017. This month, it’s an all boys affair, featuring Panteleimon Aeon and Sven.

Up until now, exhibitions at the gallery have tended towards offering pairings of artists whose work tend to be complementary to one another. This has always added depth to a visit, encouraging one to compare and appreciate both styles on display and consider them as both individual portfolios and a join exhibition, flowing one to another.  With Pan and Sven, Sorcha has shifted things a notch:  Pan focus on avatar studies, while Sven leans more to landscape images; thus presenting two contrasting portfolios of images, each of which are fascinating in their own right.

Artful Expressions: Pan

Pan’s work is visually striking, combining a sense of posed set piece with natural flavour. The result is that while each may well have been composed, so to could each have been easily caught as a moment from the subject’s life; a frozen instant of an unfolding story, the subject unaware they have been so captured.

As regular readers know, I’m strongly attracted to images with contain a narrative, and Pan’s work easy contains entire novel in each image. They draw us into the story, opening the floodgates of the imagination so that we become enwrapped, filling out the back story to these people, their surrounding, and what brought them to this moment in time. These are images to be admired from an artistic standpoint as well; the use of light and shadow, the muted toning, the use of perspective, depth of field, rule of thirds, framing – all play a role in attracting us to these moments in time.

Artful Expressions: Sven

Across the central aisle of the gallery space, Sven also presents nine images, but these are focused on the places in Second Life he has visited and appreciated. “I am definitely no professional by any means. [This is] merely a hobby that I enjoy,” he states disarmingly of his work.

He may not by a professional – after all, how many of us are? – but that doesn’t negate his eye or his style. All of the pieces are again evocative in presenting the scenes they have captured. They also draw us to them, stirring thoughts and imagination, tempting us to wonder at what we might find were we to enter the worlds they offer us and encouraging us to check the pictures for the location names in a desire to visit them (and yes, the names are given).

Artful Expressions: Sven

And did I say these were two contrasting styles? Well, perhaps they are; but they are also drawn together into a cohesive whole by Pan. He has included a single, striking landscape in his set of images. It serves as a natural, subtle link between his display and Sven’s.

Both Pan and Sven will be on display at Artful Expressions until the end of the month. Don’t forget you can also enjoy an ever-changing display of Sorcha’s work on the ground floor of the gallery.

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