Life’s primary colours in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bamboo Barnes – Colores Primarios

Bamboo Barnes is back a Nitroglobus Roof Gallery for July, with an exhibition occupying the main a hall of Dido’s Haas’ superb arts venue. She comes with a new collection of pieces gathered under the title Colores Primarios (Primary Colours), offering a total of 21 pieces (six of which offer an engaging commentary on the core theme for the exhibition, lined as they are along one wall of the gallery’s space), with a fair number beautifully animated.

Whilst coming a touch over a year since her last exhibition at Nitroglobus, Colores Primarios shares something of a spiritual connection with that last display of her work – Tranquil Droplets -, presenting as it does reflections on the nature of life. However, where that exhibition focused on light and dark as expressions of mood, here Bamboo asks us to consider the colours we use in defining moments and moods and which, ultimately, define who we are.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bamboo Barnes – Colores Primarios
What colour is the ground you cower on?
What colour is the sigh your breath makes?
What colour is that place where you fall asleep?
What are your basic colours?

– Bamboo Barnes, Colores Primarios

We’re all familiar with the concept of using colour to define our emotional states – red with embarrassment; down and blue; green with envy; a black mood; white with rage; a rosy smile, and so on. We are all likely familiar with the idea of our aura; the supposed spiritual / energy field said to surround all living things (yes, George, we know where you got your idea for the Force from!), which is also expressed in terms of colour: red, green, blue, orange, yellow, white, violet, black.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bamboo Barnes – Colores Primarios
But what if, rather than standing as simple reflections of mood or state, colours were a genuine outflow of every moment of life; something informed by where we are, what we are feeling, events recently passed, and so on? Colours that, if visible, would literally paint our lives for all to see – what would they show? How would they ebb and flow? Would they further reveal us, giving expression to not only the emotions we are feeling, but the depth of those emotions (Neon Glitch)? Would they be forever flicking and changing, moment to moment (the Assemble 3 series)? Would they offer a reflection of us that is real, or own that is blurred by our own confusion?

How would they define us to both ourselves and those around us? What would we say through them?

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bamboo Barnes – Colores Primarios

I offer no answers here; Colores Primarios deserves to speak directly to all who see it and give pause to consider what it has to say. As always, Bamboo’s work is rich in colour and presentation, primal in look – again, reflection the exhibition’s title – and always absorbing; an exhibition once again supported by Adwehe’s colour spheres.

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Bamboo’s reflections of reality in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

Bamboo Barnes has a new exhibition, one that opened at Hermes Kondor’s main gallery at the Kondor Art Centre on April 14th, and like all of her work, it is a rich collection of images that offer food for thought through a presentation of vibrant colour and imagery.

Entitled Metaphysics, it offers a visual reflection of the themes explored through the branch of philosophy that shares the same name: the study the nature of being and identity; of causality, and possibility; of space and time; of consciousness and the relationships between mind and matter; of potentiality and actuality. In other words, the fundamental nature of reality.

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

Or to put it another way, metaphysics asks questions such as Who Am I? Who are you? What is there? What is it like? Through her words and images, Bamboo offers her own explorations of these questions. Her words set the frame for the exhibition, her paintings and images standing visual essays on the ideas she presents in her words.

Though I’ve never drowned
There is a sense of drowning.
In a crowded train.
You are the only one on the train.
In the life of the person next to me.
His parents, whom I will probably never cross paths with, his family, whom I have never met, his childhood memories, joys and sorrows.
His family’s very separate friends, jobs, partners, and the loneliness and past they carry with them.
I am alone in the midst of it all, like a spreading ant’s nest.
I drown in it, the dark and bright air constricting me, and I gradually become a black spot.
Unable to open my eyes, I continue to watch the black dots disappear.

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

Thus, within the images we might find commentary on the nature of self; the causality of emotions on perception and outlook, and vice versa. And, ultimately whether we are ever really or genuinely joined as beings or is it merely an illusion brought about by these more esoteric interactions?

Because, how can we really be joined, share, unite, when ultimately, a part of us – our true inner self – forever stands apart, an observer, aloof, separated, able to ponder those questions free from the influences they seek to explore, but which actually govern and encompass every passing moment of life? A core being that forever sets us apart within ourselves; a part of society’s nest, but separated from it.

Kondor Art Centre, April 2022: Bamboo Barnes – Metaphysics

The images themselves are typical of Bamboo’s style: a marvellous mix of colour and form, each one captivating and eloquent in its expression of life and content, making this a further exhibition to be enjoyed for the art in its own sake, as well as for Bamboo’s explorations of self and reality.

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Opening Bamboo’s Drawers in Second Life

Hannington Art Foundation: Bamboo Barnes – Drawer

Bamboo Barnes opened her latest exhibition, entitled Drawer, at the Hannington Arts Foundation, owned and operated by Hannington Xeltentat. It also marks my own overdue resumption if covering art exhibitions at HAF.

A self-taught digital artist from Japan, Bamboo has used Second Life as a means of both refining her talent and displaying her work, growing from producing avatar studies to creating intricate pieces that both engage and challenge the eye and mind. Her work, generally vibrant in colour, and also evocative, provocative, and emotive, is among the most striking and unique in Second Life – and has also made the transition into the physical world.

Drawer features 20 images that appear to be self-portraits that – as is Bamboo’s style – lean towards the abstract, whilst using various techniques – collage, overlay, and so on – such that individual pieces can also touch upon the likes of impressionism and surrealism. Each image is perfectly capable of holding the attention in and of itself, but when taken together, how might they relate to the exhibition’s title and the poem Bamboo presents within its introductory notes:

Drawer that don’t close properly.
Drawer that you no longer use.
A faded picture stuck in the back, ton messed wrinkled one.
You’ve forgotten what was like but the smell comes back.
For the days you have loved close your eyes, close the drawer.

– Bamboo Barnes

Hannington Art Foundation: Bamboo Barnes – Drawer

To me, these lines suggest two potential interpretations. The first is on the theme of introspection; something Bamboo has dwelt upon through exhibitions such as Receding Reality and Mindstorm. However, here it is perhaps more layered, referencing that spark of joy when finding something created long ago than had been put away and forgotten, and which in turn brings forth memories and feelings that had themselves been locked away unheeded in the filing cabinet of the mind. Are, then, these images each a visual aide-mémoire, bringing forth those long hidden thoughts and emotions that led to its creation?

O might this been a broader commentary that we cannot remain caught up with dwelling on (or in) the past? That life moves on perpetually, carrying us along with it – and for the artist this means accepting what has been created can not no longer be changed, no matter how more advanced we have become or how out outlooks have changed; and for the artists, this means accepting what has been, and it is towards canvases new that one should now turn? And in this, is there not a salient reminder to us all, that while looking back can yield understanding or discovery, so too should the drawers of memory be pushed closed, keeping safe that which has been, while the eyes look towards what is yet to be?

Hannington Art Foundation: Bamboo Barnes – Drawer

As always, Bamboo offers us much to appreciate through her art, and much to ponder both in terms of how each piece came to be and what it represents, and the challenge she present through the five lines of blank verse.

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Bamboo’s Mindstorm in Second Life

IMAGOLand Gallery 3: Bamboo Barnes

Currently open at Gallery 3 of Mareea Farrasco’s MAGOLand is Mindstorm, an exhibition of art by Bamboo Barnes which opened on October 6th, 2021.

Hailing from Japan, Bamboo is, as I’ve frequently noted, one of the most vibrant, evocative, provocative, and emotive artists displaying her work in Second Life. She is also an artist unafraid of plumbing the depth of emotion and introspection – and this is again true with Mindstorm, which presents a series of images she has been working on for “a few years”.

The best way to describer this exhibition is to perhaps use Bamboo’s own words:

When you are feeling low, isolated, misunderstood.
Look at your disturbed soul pretending it never hurts,
The ocean of the pain roar to sweep all the goodness from you so you can feel the bottom.
Like the wind and the tide, there are no keys to open the sea, keep you face over the surface to keep the breath.
When the sun is up your skin is dry, start feel it’s in the past, then life goes on, there’s another day.
Don’t know what will come tomorrow, beneath the surface there is mindstorm.

Bamboo Barnes, describing Mindstorm

IMAGOLand Gallery 3: Bamboo Barnes

Presented in Bamboo’s familiar bold colours, the 16 images within the exhibit are joined by a number of 3rd part 3D pieces she has also textured, which together offer very visual statements on state-of-mind / relationships, which through presentation and colour emphasis speak loudly to mood and feelings.

As introspective pieces, these might be seen – not incorrectly – as reflections of Bamboo’s moods. Again, and as I’ve note before, her work is strongly bound with her mood, whether drawn directly from the emotions of life or as a result of the music to which she is listening while creating a piece. However, and as her own notes for the exhibition state, these are pieces to which anyone who has weathered feelings of isolation – not so much as a result of the on-going pandemic, but due to circumstances of life such as the ending of a relationship or an (obtuse?) misunderstanding directed towards you or the hurt inflected by the actions or words of another, and so on –  can identify.

IMAGOLand Gallery 3: Bamboo Barnes

I’m not sure how long Mindstorm is set to run, but I do recommend it as an exhibition worthy of seeing.

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Please use the teleport disk from the landing point below to reach the gallery.

Bamboo’s Blue Snow in Second Life

Kondor Art Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Blue Snow

Blue Snow is the title Bamboo Barnes has given to her most recent exhibition, which opened at the Kondor Centre Art Gallery (curated by Hermes Kondor) on February 27th. I’m not sure of the origins for the title, but that hardly matters given the theme of the exhibition and the nature of Bamboo’s art.

Bamboo is a self-taught digital artist who started producing her work using Second Life in the form of avatar studies and images of other people’s art installations. In 2013 she started producing original pieces, and in the eight years since, she has developed a unique and striking style that has not only been exhibited in virtual spaces but also in the physical world.

Kondor Art Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Blue Snow

For this exhibition, Bamboo plumbs personal depths, exploring her growing understanding of art as a means of expression and her development as an artist.

In her introduction to the exhibit she notes that “Art is never finished, just abandoned”, a statement that might at first seem a little confusing, as clearly, many pieces of art do stand as finished items – hence why we can see them in galleries and museums, reproduced, sold, hanging on our walls at home, and so on.

Kondor Art Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Blue Snow

However the capitalisation of “Art” is important: signifying that rather than referencing any singular piece of art, Bamboo is referring to the medium in all its forms, be it painting, photography, sculpture, models, the written and / or spoken word and so on; recognising that it is always evolving, and that artists can change genre, format and style, taking on some and abandoning others as they find new or different ways to express themselves.

As is usual with Bamboo, all of the pieces offered within Blue Snow are endlessly vibrant, both in terms of the colours used and the degree of life they each exude. There is a strength about each one that captivates the eye and challenges the imagination, offering stories that might – when considering the central theme of the exhibition – enfold thoughts of the artist and her relationship with her work as well as revolving around our own perceptions of who we are and where we might be going.

Kondor Art Centre: Bamboo Barnes – Blue Snow

Richly engaging, Blue Snow is another superb exhibition from one of SL’s leading digital artists.

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Tranquil Droplets at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus: Bamboo Barnes – Traquil Droplets

Opening on Monday, June 8th, 2020 at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is Tranquil Droplets, an exhibition of art by Bamboo Barnes.

There can be few involved in the art world within Second Life who can be unfamiliar with Bamboo’s work; it is by turns vibrant, evocative, provocative, emotive and so often rich in narrative. A physical world artist hailing from Japan, Bamboo works with digital tools to produce her pieces, her finished works strongly assertive in terms of its presentation, ability to dominate the space it occupies and in the way it demands the attention of the eye and mind.

Nitroglobus: Bamboo Barnes – Tranquil Droplets

There’s hopeless life still seeking for hopes like abandoned walking shadows of people on the street, my artworks are expression of confusion of life, darkness of light and strangeness of love. I create what I see but maybe you won’t, they are about people’s reality and mind.

– Bamboo Barnes, discussing her work

Much of her works is produced entirely outside of Second Life, which presents itself – along with Flickr – as a means for Bamboo to reach her audience. Which is not to say the pieces offered in Tranquil Droplets originated beyond our digital realm; rather the reverse, in fact, as the focus here is very much on avatar faces.

Not that the pieces offered are in any way a “traditional” avatar portrait / study; far from it. Each is presented in Bamboo’s rich, evocative style such that her use of colour, digital highlighting and layering all serve to add depth to the portraits offered. This gives each piece a life of its own, an expressive richness that presents us with a sense of story.

Nitroglobus: Bamboo Barnes – Traquil Droplets

For Bamboo, emotions are a core element of her art, be they those that are invoked by the piece she is working on; those she felt at the time she started working, and / or those evoked by the music she is listening to, as well as those she sees within her subject.

All of this is strongly evident within the 17 pieces offered within Traquil Droplets, each one of which offers unique reflections of both her subjects and of various artistic techniques – abstract, modernist, hints of dadaism / collages, and impressionism, all without ever merely mimicking these styles.

Nitroglobus: Bamboo Barnes – Tranquil Droplets

As Bamboo says, these pieces are like water whose dripping echoes in the silence; once heard, it cannot easily be forgotten, except here, it is that each of these images that continue to live with the imagination long after they’ve been seen, because of their richness of colour, presentation and emotion. In other words, this is a captivating exhibition.

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