Art and nature in Second Life

Club L.A. and Gallery – Sue Kass

Somewhat unusually for this blog, I’m covering three exhibitions of art split across two galleries – Club L.A. and Kiku Gallery  – that between them presents three very individual displays of art by Second Life artists, and which are each small enough to make a joint interesting and contrasting visit for those who enjoy art in Second Life.

Opening at L.A. Club and Gallery, curated by Wintergeist, on September 28th, 2019 and running for approximately two months are exhibitions by Maloe Vansant Sue Kass, two very different artists.

Club L.A. and Gallery – Maloe Vansant

Maloe is always a provocative in her work, and with A Glitch in Time, she again shows this to be the case, with a very mixed set of predominantly physical word photographs – and I have to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to make of them. This is something I say without any intention to be dismissive towards the exhibition, but simply because the mix of images offered is so diverse, it really needs individual viewing and contemplation, rather than any attempt to understand them through the eyes of another.

Sue Kass, meanwhile, is an artist I’ve not previously encountered. She presents a selection of 16 avatar studies offered as a mix of photographs, paintings and drawings. I have to admit, they make an engaging collection; each one captivates the eye, offering a perfectly framed image complete with the strong suggestion of a surrounding story; so much so that again, they deserve an direct visit to view, rather than a second-hand interpretation here. However, I will say I found myself drawn to those pieces that suggest a drawing or watercolour – notably Fall, Hug and Flowers, seen below, and Ink.

Club L.A. and Gallery – Sue Kass

Running through until November 8th, 2019 at the Kiku Gallery curated by Suzanne Logan is an exhibition of photography by Ktahdn Vesuvino entitled A Closer Look, a series of marvellous close-up images from the physical world captured using a digital single-lens reflex camera with (for the most part) a 100mm macro lens. These are combined with a small series of photographs of the most astonishing series of sand sculptures.

When I go for walks, I see most people with heads down, looking at their telephones. The world presents beauty in great detail, everywhere one chooses to look. I know there is also ugliness. It’s part of our reality. I choose to focus on things I see as being beautiful, and attempt to make a photograph that will show some of the beauty to others… and be worth looking at again.

Ktahdn Vesuvino, describing A Closer Look

Kiku Gallery – Ktahdn Vesuvino

This is another captivating collection of images, Ktahdn’s macro pictures offering a fabulous series of portraits, while those taken on the beach marvellously underline his comment about people being so focused on their smartphones they can literally miss life passing them by.

Taken together, and as I said at the top of this review, all three exhibitions make for individually absorbing visits.

Kiku Gallery – Ktahdn Vesuvino

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Myf McMahon at Club LA and Gallery

Club LA and Gallery: Myf McMahon

Currently on display on the ground floor of Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) is a modest exhibition of landscape photography by Myf McMahon, a Second Life photographer whose work had previously escaped me.

With 12 images on offer, this is a small but comfortable exhibition featuring pictures of some of Second Life’s more popular public regions such as Ukivok, Author’s Point, :nostos deer:, Wild Edge and (I believe) Cold Ash. Each image is intended to evoke a feeling or sentiment – as indicated by their titles – And the end of all our exploringThat missing part that we are always searching for, etc., and each of them succeed in achieving this.

Club LA and Gallery: Myf McMahon

These are elegant images, showing the minimum of required post-processing to bring them to life. And while none of them feature avatars and few feature animals or birds, they are nevertheless rich in life: the toss of waves, the pressure of wind and breeze as signified by the bent backs of trees or the billowing of a windsock – even the casual leaning of a bicycle against a railing.

I understand from the notice outside the gallery that Club LA and Gallery may be under some renovation, and given I’ve not dropped in for a while, I’m not sure how long this little exhibition will remain, so a visit in the short term might be advised.

Club LA and Gallery: Myf McMahon

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WuWai’s Blue Second Life

Club LA and Gallery: WuWai Chun

Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) presents a new exhibition of art by WuWai Chun, someone I’ve long followed in the SL Profile Feeds, but I’ve rarely seen exhibited in-world, so it was a delight to receive an early invite to see her work at the gallery from Fuyuko.

Second Life Blue is located on the gallery’s mezzanine level, and is an eye-catching selection of art. Perhaps the first point to note about it is that WuWai is donating 100% of all sales during the exhibition to Feed A Smile / Live and Learn Kenya. Full details on this charity – which we support at Holly Kai – can be found at the entrance to the exhibit itself, as can instructions on how to purchase images to donate. There’s also a FAS donation kiosk available, if you prefer to make a direct donation or give a little extra.

Club LA and Gallery: WuWai Chun

Twelve images form the exhibition, and as the title suggests, they present scenes from around Second Life that have been post-processed to give each of them a blue finished tone. This allows WuWai to present a series of dramatic captures of Second Life that are deeply evocative and  equally soothing to view. Landscapes share the space with avatar studies and images of in-world art, which makes the breadth of images presented equally rich and diverse as their emotional expression.

As per the notes displayed at the entrance of the exhibit space, this is an exhibition best seen with Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in the viewer. This doesn’t change our perception of the images per se, but it does enable the local projected lights which add further depth to the night sky environment WuWai has created in which to frame her images. In addition, I suggest making sure local sounds are enabled, as WuWai has also presented a sound scape for the exhibition.

Club LA and Gallery: WuWai Chun

Another enticing exhibition from Club LA and Gallery, beautifully presented – and I further offer kudos to WuWai in her use of vendor boards as picture frames. This allows visitors to both purchase images and to touch them and use the Info button on the displayed menu to receive text information on the image: where it was taken, price, and permissions and a link to the original image on WuWai’s Flickr stream.  I may well be “borrowing” her approach for my own pictures!

The official opening for the exhibition is at 13:00 SLT on Saturday, March 16th, 2019.

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Dodo Ahanu at Club LA and Gallery

Club LA and Gallery: Dodo

The latest exhibition at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist) opened on Sunday, February 10th, featuring the art of Dodo (DodoAhanu).

Located on the gallery’s ground floor, the exhibit presents 18 of Dodo’s images that span his photography from 2013 through to 2018, offering a mix of landscape, art and avatar studies, making this exhibition an engaging introduction to Dado’s work and evolving style for those of us previously unfamiliar with his work.

Club LA and Gallery: Dodo

Dodo’s landscapes, particularly those presented in a panoramic format, are sweeping in their extent. There is also a quality about some of them that suggests while they were taken within Second Life, they are somehow a window onto the physical world. Meanwhile, his avatar studies include two self portraits, although it is Silent Moment that particularly caught my eye; it has that richness of narrative I so enjoy finding in images.

However, it is in two of the “earliest” pieces in the exhibition (“earliest” in that they date back to 2013 and 2014 respectively) that particularly captivated me: PRAVDA dark couture and The Ballet I. Both are very different to one another and to the other pieces presented. The latter demonstrates a wonder use of projected light and shadow to create an image, while the former is simply marvellous in the use of tone, light, and processing to create the impression of a drawing straight from the artist’s hands.

Club LA and Gallery: Dodo

All of the pieces presented in this exhibition are offered for sale, and more of Dodo’s work can be found on his Flickr pages.

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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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