Personal impressions in Second Life

A Dream of Asia

Discussing myself is something that doesn’t come particularly easy, especially when it comes to anything like self-advertising or my photography – which I regard as passable for blog illustrations, little more.

However, Sorcha Tyles recently asked me to consider an exhibition of my work at her gallery of Artful Expressions, which I admit to finding incredibly flattering  – if more than a little nerve-racking. However, in talking to Sorcha, I decided to take up her generous offer.

So, opening at Artful Expression on Friday, May 8th at 14:00 SLT is a small selection of my work entitled Impressions, which features images (some not previously seen) of my recent SL travels. Music is being provided by DJ Julz, and I hope you’ll join us for the opening – or hop along to the gallery and take a look while the exhibition is open through to the end of the month(ish).

Many, many thanks to Sorcha for the invite and encouragement, and for arranging the exhibition!

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Peace vs Chaos in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Kimmy Ridley

It’s not often that you come across Friedrich Nietzsche, Hafez, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes and Julie Andrews (among others) serving to give voice to items within an art exhibit, but that’s exactly what you’ll find with Peace vs. Chaos, which opened on Saturday March 14th at Artful Expressions gallery, curated by Sorcha Tyles.

The work of Kimmy Ridley, the exhibit feature nine images, four on the subject of chaos, as visualised by Kimmy, four on peace and the ninth a combination. The two groups of four are highly individualised. The four on the subject of peace are perhaps the most easily recognisable: scenes (for the most part) rich in colour, capturing what might be considered peaceful times: summer days, frolics in the countryside, delight in a falling feather – even the forth, an exuberant  throwing wide of arms while astride a bicycle, denotes joy – an emotion that we tend to display when we’re a peace in ourselves.

The chaos images are a little less straightforward, perhaps. In opposition to those depicting peace, three are in black and white, and one in colour. In this they sit as the yin to the three colour and single black-and-white yang of peace. With and blurred rendering of a face, two bodies sans head and the third with the slightly enlarged head floating above (ahead?) of a body out for a stroll.

Artful Expressions: Kimmy Ridley

These are all very esoteric, but it might be said chaos appears to be lacking. Whilst unusual, these images at first don’t appear to invoke a feeling of chaos; that is until we consider the personal nature of the peace images. these all suggest settings that, while they might be familiar to us as peaceful settings, are also very personal. And so it is with the chaos images, each of which offers a personal sense of chaos – of literally feeling that life has one losing one’s head.

The ninth image combines elements of peace and chaos – but perhaps not in the manner that might first be thought. While it would be easy to see the bright colours of the flowers as an expression of peace in keeping with the other peace images, and the skeleton representative of chaos, I’d suggest the reverse is true: the bright cascade of flowers might be seen as representing the natural chaos of nature, and the skeleton the peaceful slumber of death.

Artful Expressions: Kimmy Ridley

Thus together, these images present a personal view of peace and chaos, underlined by the personal selection of quotes offered as a part of the exhibition (just take the information board). These are ideas to which we can all relate times of joy and happiness, confusion and upset; in short, the Peace vs. Chaos that can so often be a part of our lives.

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Truth at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Anu Papp

Artful Expressions Gallery curated by Sorcha Tyles, has (another) new home, and with it, a new exhibition.

Veritas (“truth”) is a selection of images by Anu Papp split into two groups of fives images apiece in the gallery’s two exhibition wings. Avatar studies all, the majority appear to be a mix of self-portraits and images that feature Anu’s SL partner Ferdinand, with around three photos of friends rounding out the mix.

Each of the images has its own sense of mood and presence, which can be added to by hovering the mouse over each in turn to see the title displayed. In this, I found the title of the exhibit somewhat intriguing. While each of the images offers its own narrative (and insight into mood, the possible creative intent), etc., there is little that intrinsically link the images back to the ideal of truth.

Artful Expressions: Anu Papp

This actually offers a possible conundrum, as it leaves those so minded (like myself) to ponder over title and subject. Is the title a reference to the truth that however hard we try to insist “SL is SL and RL is RL and never the twain shall meet”, we actually cannot avoid imbuing our avatars with some (or all) of the traits and foibles of our personalities? Is it the truth that our avatars present the means for each of us to express our inner self to the world more openly and as we would like to be seen by others?

Determining what truth is being referred to can have darker shades, such as the idea is there in truth no beauty? For truth is harsh to almost everyone; it forces us to accept our flaws and snap out of our grand illusions – and our avatars are perhaps one of our grandest illusions. So beautiful they may be – but do that reflect truth? But what then of the individual titles of the pieces presented? Do they fall into place with the idea that in truth, our digital presence is mere illusion, or do they push back against it, revealing that other truth referenced above: that they actually reveal who we are, more so that all of the masks we might otherwise wear in life?

Artful Expressions: Anu Papp

Not that this exhibition demands we engage in such an internal debate. The images are captivating in and of themselves – and I admit to becoming very drawn to the two period pieces offered. Both are marvellously presented, and the case of Les Nobles in particular, I once again saw the greatest truth Second Life offers to us: that no matter who or where we are in life, SL gives our imaginations wings.

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Love at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Kazrakk

Love is the title of the latest exhibition of photography to go on display at Sorcha Sanvean’s (Sorcha Tyles’) boutique-style Artful Expressions Gallery. Featuring the work of Australian photographer Kazrakk,  the exhibition present six engaging pieces that offer insight into the many facets of the love between two people.

Featuring Kazrakk and his SL partner, Ninna, as the subjects in all six images, Love also might be seen as offering a window into their own relationship. There is something very personal about each of the photographs within this selection that embraces tenderness and lover – but which does not, by any measure leave the viewer feeling discomfited by thoughts of being a voyeur; even the images featuring near full-body nudity have a tenderness and grace within them that imbues of a feeling of sharing, rather than that of intrusion.

Artful Expressions: Kazrakk

Presented in both colour and monochrome, there are pieces that perfectly showcase Kazrakk’s ability to frame a moment in time, each picture captivating in both style and in narrative. There is a richness with each piece, whether it is focused solely on the avatars themselves, as three of the pieces are; or whether it offers a broader canvas, where the background plays a role in setting the tone of the narrative (the two here using Norderney and Chochou’s Memento Mori to marvellous effect); or whether it is an expression of pure artistic styling that offers a unique perspective on love and attraction, as seen in the first piece in the series, simply referred to as nr. 1.

Love is a small exhibition, true, but it is also one that leaves you wanting to see more of Kazrakk’s work, and this can be done by visiting his Flickr photostream. Now set within its new mainland home, Artful Expressions once again offers an alluring and engaging exhibit.

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Adi Frith at Artful Expressions and a visit to the beach

Artful Expressions: beach

Update March 28th: Artful Expressions is in the process of relocating. The current exhibition remains “for a few days” at the SLurl given in the body of this article, after which the gallery can be found at its new Mainland home.

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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