La Robbiani and Wintergeist at Club LA and Gallery

Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani

Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist), are two small exhibitions by Eviana (eviana Robbiani) – under the name La Robbinani – and Wintergeist herself.

For her exhibition, La Robbiani uses the theme of Shoshin (初心) – the idea of separating yourself from all preconceptions when studying a subject -, and of being open to all ideas in an attempt to avoid becoming trapped in a closed loop of thinking and missing everything a lesson my have to teach us.

It’s a concept that has its basis in Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts – although it can be applied to almost any subject. For her exhibition, La Robbiani uses it to encourage the observer to come to each of the six images she displays with fresh eyes and to avoid any preconceptions about their nature clouding our ability to see them as they are.

Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani

This actually makes reviewing this exhibition, beautifully presented within and Oriental structure (perhaps more Chinese than Japanese), a little hard: anything I say here is liable to result n readers visiting the exhibit to enter it with at least some preconception. But – that’s why it is important to keep the idea of Shoshin at the forefront of any thoughts about the exhibition on entering.

What I will say is that each of the six studies are beautifully presented, each with its own theme – but again more Chinese in nature that Japanese. A couple of them should perhaps be considered as NSFW as they contain a degree of nudity, but all six should be considered both individually and in the context of its title.

Club LA and Gallery: Wintergeist

Also located on the ground floor of the gallery is Wintergeist’s own exhibition.

Comprising twelve images, both easels and wall mounted,  this is an exhibition that demonstrates the full beauty of her work; they cover landscape images and avatar studies presented in both colour and black and white. Some have admittedly been previously exhibited, but this doesn’t lessen the fact that all of them speak to the art and craft of a gifted photographer and artist.

Taken with the exhibition by oYo (Oyona), which continues on the gallery’s mezzanine level (and which you can read about here), these make for a further engaging visit to Club LA and Gallery.

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The natural beauty of oYo’s art in Second Life

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Opening on Saturday October 13th, 2018 on the mezzanine level at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is an exhibition of photography by  oYo (Oyona). Offering a mix of landscape and avatar studies, it encompasses a sublime sense of “natural” photography that has enormous depth  and, in the case of many of the images, considerable narrative substance.

For the exhibition, the mezzanine area has been converted so as to give a feeling of being outdoor – almost somewhere very close to the sea or up on moorland. Open sky forms the walls and ceiling, while the floor is a mix of scrub grass and shrubs through which sharp tongues of rock poke forth.

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Within this space 22 photographs are arranged, mixing monochrome with full colour with the majority presented in softer tones and finishes that adds an extra dimension to them. What is striking about many of the photos is oYo’s use of camera placement and angle; the construction of many of the avatar-centric images are such that while carefully composed and comported, they actually have the sense of being spur-of-the-moment shots, pictures captured through happenstance rather than design and pose.

This is immediately evident on arriving on the mezzanine. To the left of the entrance sit What Do You Expect?, Take Care and Emo (all seen in the top image). All three have been composed to present a specific focus and emotional response. But through the use of lighting, shadow, angle, soft focus, it is as if each was caught entirely by chance: a camera being used and raised in mid-conversation or when the subject was least expecting it.

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Thus the story within each of them becomes broader, encompassing the “person behind the lens” as much as the subject and setting: what was going on immediately before the picture was taken? What words were being exchanged? were both parties in Take Care aware that this was perhaps the last photo one would take of the other, a natural falling of shadow as the image was taken now serving to add to the stirring of emotion and memory whenever the taker of the photograph looks at it?

The landscape photos offered in the exhibition demonstrate a similar seasoned and skilled eye for composition, colour, tone and framing, all of which generates a narrative well beyond the photo itself. This is again evident from the very first image seen on entering: Le Rivage (again seen in the top image, on the left). A marvellous close-up of cormorants offered in monochrome and soft focus, the framing perfectly captures the moment at which some of the birds start to demonstrate agitation, wings spreading perhaps aware of the not-too-distant photographer. But so does it bring to mind the story of how it came to be taken: the careful manoeuvring downwind of the birds, edging over sand and rock or through wet marsh, constantly aware that push things too far, and the birds will take flight; then the use of a telephoto lens, perhaps crouched uncomfortably…

Club LA and Gallery: oYo

Time and again this storytelling comes to the fore in so many ways: the happy-go-lucky, out-of-the-window “holiday” shot of Saint-Martin, to the lonely beauty and pathos  – again both in front of and behind the lens of Tout Refaire (second image from top in this article).

These are all images that are rich in life and emotion as well as offering an unforced guide to the art and artistry of photography. Most definitely an exhibition to be seen. The formal opening will take place at 13:00 SLT on the afternoon of Saturday, October 13th, and the exhibition itself should be open through the first half of November.

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Avatar studies at Club LA and Gallery

Club LA and Gallery: Lyra Romanas

Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist), are two small exhibitions by Lyra Romanas and Io Bechir. Both offer avatar self-studies, and whilst very individual in styles and approach; they complement one another in a side-by-side exhibition.

“As an artist, I am first and foremost driven by an inner creative force, something captures my interest, a process takes form and a journey starts towards a finish product,” Lyra says of her work. “I like to explore my creativity through different platforms, such as painting, drawing, sculpturing, graphics, photography, digital art etc. I developed an interest for digital art mainly through SL, a wonderful playground when it comes to creating fantasies and make them come to life in a picture.”

Club LA and Gallery: Lyra Romanas

Contained within a small studies or workspace, the images are presented in a space suggestive of an artist’s workspace, albeit without all the clutter. Thus, in entering this space, it is as though we’re entering Lyra’s own space to appreciate her art even as she is creating.

Of the images, they stand both as individual pieces and also as three stories, each of four frames apiece, and which we are invited to imagine and extend. In this, they are very much reflective of Lyra’s approach to her art: offering pictures that are very much alive, and very much in the moment, as Lyra notes. “I have a formal art education. But when I create I follow no rules or guidelines regarding my art, I just go with what’s right in the moment.”

Club LA and Gallery: Io Bechir

Across the hallway can be found Io’s selection of art, which might be considered NSFW, involving nudity as it does. I’ve been a fervent admirer of Io’s work since first encountering it, and am always pleased to have the opportunity of seeing more of it. Her self-portraits are always richly evocative and rich a narrative, and the seven images she presents here more than demonstrate this.

Each of the seven has its own story to tell, but I confess that of all of them, Three Hours Early (seen above, right) utterly captivated me; the composition of the image is simply sublime, and the depth of emotion caught within it utterly stunning.

Club LA and Gallery: Io Bechir

Both Io and Lyra will be on display at Club LA through until October, and can currently be seen alongside the photography of Carolyn Phoenix / Sirenis, which I reviewed in August 2018.

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