Three into on at DiXmiX for April and May

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo

DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, is currently hosting three exhibitions side-by-side by Second Life artists, all of which opened in April and run through (at least in part) to May. As is always the case with this gallery, the exhibitions are both intriguing and a little frustrating.

First up, and in the foyer area of the Grey Gallery, is I’m a Magic Marker (SquarePegRoundHole69), an artist to whom I was introduced – or her work at least – by Sorcha Tyles. “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,” Magic said at the time of her exhibition at Sorcha’s gallery. “Some images are cathartic, some are just because I like to look at pretty things.”

DiXmiX Gallery: Magic Marker

It’s a point of view that can be applied to the twelve images offered at DiXmiX. Quirky, eye-catching and often featuring bold colours which demand our attention, they present attention-grabbing avatar studies (with a little nudity in places). Some might appear to be straight-forward almost studio style photos (such as “#1” and “#7”); others offer that opening to a story mentioned in passing by Magic, while some evoke echoes of art and artistry from other sources – notably #5 and the wonderfully eye-catching #3 with its hint of a Jackson pollack influence.

Adjoining this in the ground floor Black Gallery is Blanc by Oyo, a series of fourteen quite striking studies, largely of avatars, but also featuring landscapes, in which white – and the title might suggest – plays something of a role almost throughout. Again untitled, given only a number, these are attention-holding studies which although free from narrative, instantly draw one into them each in turn. There is a vibrancy and life within each, beautifully encapsulated in their largely muted tones.

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo

Most of the images stand as individual pieces, each to be appreciated in its own right. the exceptions to this are “IV”, “V” and “VI” which form an impressive triptych-like trio of images (above),  each on standing as an individual piece, but all three combine perfectly together to form a single and evocative whole; a glimpse of a vacation or favourite coastal place caught in the mind’s eye.

On the upper floor of the gallery, in the White Gallery space, is 12 Photographers and 1 Chair, by Mr. S. As the name implies, this is a set of twelve studies of Second Life photographers – all of them male, and welcome in an age where the camera is still often preoccupied with studies of the female form – seated in an armchair and presented with a glimpse of their own work as a backdrop.

DiXmiX Gallery: Mr. S

Caught in the same lighting, the 12 artists, Yann Whoa, Aran M., Skippy Beresford, Dixmix Source, Terry Fotherington, Gaus, Burk Bode, SL Senna, Moon Edenbaum, Oscar Sabra, Vrir Resident and Serene Footman, all make for intriguing studies; although I did find that in a couple of the images, the supporting “background” image tended to draw my eyes away from the main subject perhaps a little too much. Nevertheless, these are striking studies, and with several, I couldn’t help but feel Mr. S had caught not only the look, but the very essence of his subjects through both their portrait and the selected supporting image.

My frustration, such as it is, lies again with the lack of liner notes accompanying this three exhibitions. With 12 Photographers and 1 Chair in particular, it would have been interesting to get Mr. S’s perspective on his images, and perhaps those of some of his subjects. This (usual) quibble aside, all three exhibits are well worth a visit.

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Melusina’s minimalism in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Melusina Parkin

Less is More is the title of an exhibition of Second Life photography by Melusina Parkin, featured at the basement Womb exhibition space at DiXmiX Gallery and which opened on February 20th, 2018.

As an aphorism, the phrase is most readily associated with the German-America architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, regarded as one of the pioneers of 20th Century modernist architecture, although he appears to have lifted the expression from Robert Browning’s 1855 poem Andrea del Sarto  (also called The Faultless Painter). Van der Rohe used the term to define a form of architecture with a minimal structural framework that could suggest free-flowing open spaces, and which could explore the relationship between people, shelter, and nature.  Given Melu’s own unique approach to photography which very much encompasses the refined, minimalist use of structure balanced against the idea of natural,open space, the aphorism is an ideal title under which to exhibit some of her work. 

DiXmiX Gallery: Melusina Parkin

In all, 18 photographs are displayed in the Womb’s three halls – you can find it by entering the main DiXmiX gallery and making your way to the Black Gallery, where the entrance to the Womb resides. Primarily rendered in soft tones, all of the pieces perfectly exemplify the idea of minimal structure, both in terms of framing – most of the pictures carry an intentional off-centre focus – and in terms of content – the physical structures within the images are minimally presented against a broader backdrop suggestive of open space, whether offered by open water, cloudy sky or a blank wall. 

Also evident in these images, and in keeping with van der Rohe, is another of the architect’s adopted aphorisms: God is in the details. Yes, the over-arching aim of this type of photography is to present something that carries within in minimal structure and balances that structure against the use of space; however, this is something that just “happens”. It requires a measured eye and a flair for making what is actually a painstaking study of places and environments look so naturally easy.

DiXmiX Gallery: Melusina Parkin

Thus, while they might all look effortless in execution, considered study of each of them reveals the care and thought that went into bringing each of them to life. Even the way they have been paired within the three sets of images: views, interiors and bodies, should be considered; Melusina’s attention to detail is evident through this exhibition.So much so, in fact, that I couldn’t help but wonder if with some of the selected images, she’s not also offering a tip of the hat directly to van der Rohe. Looking at two of the images in Bodies (centre image of this article), I found myself thinking about his Farnsworth House design, and its original occupant, Dr. Edith Farnsworth.

Another excellent exhibition from one of my favourite artists in Second Life.

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DixMix: Elo, Maloe, Uma and a little change

DiXmiX Gallery – Uma Sabra

DixMix Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, opened a new exhibition featuring the work of  Elo (elorac Paule), Maloe Vansant and Uma Sabra in mid-September; and it is fair to say come of the images presented should be considered NSFW.

As well as the exhibition – appropriately entitled Elo, Maloe, Uma, the gallery has under gone some alterations, and with them comes a new SLurl / landmark. The overall design remains the same, with the exhibition space divided into three halls – the Black Grey and White galleries, with both lower floors and mezzanine levels. Also retained is The Atom club space, with the rooms behind it now given over to Dixmix’s work.

DiXmiX Gallery: Elo

However, located within the Black Gallery space is the entrance to Womb, a new exhibition area located below the main building, and finished in a very futuristic style somewhat at odds with the main display halls, but nevertheless also complimenting them. I’m not sure if this is designed to be a further space for exhibiting different artists or whether it is intended to be dedicated to Megan’s work (which was being displayed during my visit).

Of the three artists exhibited in the main hall, two, Maloe and Elo, have been reviewed in these pages a number of times while exhibiting at various galleries in Second Life. Both offer striking avatar studies – the focus of this exhibition – but I do confess to being biased towards Elo somewhat because I do find her work powerfully expressive. This is certainly the case here, with some 12 pieces of her work presented in monochrome, in keeping with the theme of the gallery’s Grey exhibition hall.

DiXmiX Gallery: Maloe Vansant

Uma Sabra’s art occupies the White Gallery on the mezzanine level, where she presents 16 studies of herself strikingly taken against a plain black background. All be three are nude shots, the exceptions being three facial portraits which are, for me, the most striking.

Maloe’s work occupies the lower floor Black Gallery and is the richest in terms of colour and style, with several of the pieces presented as paintings more than photographs. Through all of them there is a very tactile element; it’s hard not to want to reach out and run a finger lightly over the surface of several of the pieces.

DiXmiX Gallery: Megan Prumier

A balanced and nuanced exhibition featuring three superb artists.

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DixMix: Megan, Jes and Nekonuko

DiXmiX Gallery: Jes Mode

DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source and Megan Prumier, is currently hosting exhibitions by three artists with three very different, but complimentary styles: Nekonuko Nakamori, Jes Mode and Megan herself.

I last wrote about Nekonuko Nakamori when Sorcha Tiles was hosting an exhibition of her work alongside pieces by Blip Mumfizz, back in February 2017. A physical world artist with a grounded in Japanese art and who specialises in conceptual / abstract art in oil, Nekonuko uses her SL art to document her explorations of this digital world, each piece precisely square in ratio, and post-processed to give something of a painted look and feel.

DiXmiX Gallery: Nekonuko Nakamori

Twenty-two of her pieces are on offer in the gallery, twenty of them in a small enough format to allow them to be displayed in threes. Each offers a shot of Nekonuko in her wanderings, sometimes with enough surrounding detail for the seasoned traveller to be able to make an educated guess as to where she was at the time of the picture. Others, however, are a little more mysterious in nature. The majority are in colour, although three are monochrome, and offer interesting takes on avatar studies.

Occupying the White Gallery hall, Jes mode is making his debut exhibition at DixMix, and going on the quality of his work, I’m certain this will not be the last public display of his photography. All are presented as monochrome pieces, and are predominantly avatar focused. Some touch on the sensual, others on the serene or the satirical or the provocative. All are extremely well framed, and carry a unique narrative.

DixMix Gallery: Jes Mode

“I’m just an amateur,” Jes says of his work. I beg to differ; from the haunting beauty of Under a Heavy Rain through to the artful elegance of Situazione Surreale (Surreal Situation) these are masterful pieces. The sentiment and emotion in each is palpable; each captures the attention and draws one into their narrative, drawing forth felling of identification with the mood or tone of a piece, or making us a part of the scene.

Megan Prumier is possibly the more well-known of the three artists currently on display, her exhibition having opened a little ahead of those of Nekonuko and Jes. Nineteen pieces (including a 4-panel piece) are on display in the Black Gallery Hall, just off to the left of the gallery’s entrance foyer. These are again avatar studies, but are presented in soft focus and (predominantly) soft tones, given each piece an individual sense of life. Megan appears to be the model in most of the images, thus given some of them perhaps something of an autobiographical edge in the narrative they carry. All are, in two words, strikingly captivating.

DiXmiX Gallery: Megan Prumier

It’s a pity that – once again – no effort has been made to offer information on the artists. While this is fast becoming my usual nagging point about this gallery, it is something I feel strongly about. Discovering and appreciating the art on display is obviously a good portion of the draw to any gallery; but so to is the opportunity to discover something of the eyes, minds and personalities of the people responsible for the art, and to perhaps gain insight into their work and  / or their passions and interests as whole. Is providing an artist’s statement / bio therefore really that hard, given other galleries manage it?

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Red balloons in the wood

DiXmiX Gallery: Red Balloons In The Wood

Now open at DiXmiX Gallery, is Red Balloons in the Wood, an exhibition of work by the gallery’s owner, Dixmix Source. The byline for the exhibition reads simply, when unusual avatars are wandering in the forest, and it comprises seventeen woodland scenes, each of which, in keeping with the title and the byline, feature both red balloons and an avatar.

This is a hauntingly beautiful collection, featuring some marvellous pieces, each with a story to tell – or at least suggested; quite what it might be is down to the person seeing these pictures, which range from what might be considered a “simple” capture of a horse (Horse Walk) through the pieces of fantasy (So Trees Have Gender; Cute Elf Was There Too) to some with a darker edge, despite the title (Every Way Is A Good Way, When it’s the right Time), to others with a more erotic edge.

DiXmiX Gallery: Red Balloons In The Wood

Adding to the atmosphere of the exhibit is the use of denuded saplings and trees, some with the signature red balloon tied to them. These add to the feeling of being in a woodland setting, such that with camming, some of the images can be seen through the bare branches, extending the sense of presence within the pictures. At the same time, the soft tones used within the pictures contrast powerfully with the red balloons. The latter serve to draw the eyes to them after initially taking in the broad essence of a picture, before the eyes are drawn back to the canvas as a whole, and the story it contains.

All told, this is a masterpiece collection of the artist’s talent, one well worth visiting; and while there, do be sure to enjoy the exhibitions by Lam Erin and Tintin Tuxing, both of which are due to be coming to the end of their run (and you can also read about them here).

DiXmiX Gallery: Red Balloons In The Woods

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Summer’s colours and sensual moods in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Lam Erin – Colours of the Summer

Now open at DixMix Gallery are two new exhibitions which, although not in any way intentionally paired, offer studies in the two most popular forms of Second Life photography: landscapes and avatar studies. Between them, they feature the work of Lam Erin and Tintin Tuxing.

For Colours of the Summer, Lam Erin presents ten images of landscapes within Second Life, the majority of which have been tinted / enhanced with colours associated with summer – notably gold, yellow and green – but which should not be taken to be simple photographs of summer scenes. Rather, these are studied pieces, carefully processed to present a range of responses and perhaps suggest certain ideas for narratives behind them.

DiXmiX Gallery: Lam Erin – Colours of the Summer

In particular, each of the pieces is marked by a broiling, active cloudscape; a dramatic, even foreboding, cast to the skies which even in the more restful images among the ten (such as Autumn Trace and Italian Countryside) adds an edge to the picture. They serve to make us reconsider each image after we’ve first cast our eyes over them, drawing us into the narrative behind the scene presented. Sometimes this can be direct – such as the brooding sense of a rising storm in Neverfar, through to a more subtle reminder that the ship lying calmly at anchor in Bal Harbour can have a capricious mistress with the seas on which she sails.

All told, a marvellously evocative set.

DiXmiX Gallery: Tintin Tuxing – Sensual Moods

In the nine images she presents for Senusual Moods, Tintin Tuxing (Alexandrea Barbosa) takes visitors in another direction entirely: towards that of the sensuous and sensual.  Beautifully presented in monochrome (for the most part), these pictures draw us into a personal world of sensuality edged with a touch of the erotic in places.

The majority of the pieces focus on a single subject, and are both evocatively titled and posed. Six of the nine powerfully convey mood through the model’s expression alone, with one using a simple splash of colour to give draw us closer to it. These are marvellous studies which captivate the eye. Of the remaining three, I confess to finding one seemingly slightly out-of-place in that it features a couple and is posed such that a bicycle in the foreground draws and hold the attention more than the scene being played out. Perhaps intentional, it did for me break the mood evoked by the rest of the pieces. In difference to it, The Lonely Cello drew me the other way; the only one of the pieces fully  – if mutedly – in colour, it is a captivating study.

DiXmiX Gallery: Tintin Tuxing – Sensual Moods

Both Colours of The Summer and Sensual Moods are Small exhibitions in turns of the number of images displayed, but each is an engrossing display. My only grumble, which is towards the gallery, not the artists, is once again, no liner notes / biographical information is provided on the artists – or a means for them to offer their own information / thoughts on the works they are presenting.  Such notes may not be vital to an appreciation of the art on display, but can help present a clearer picture of the artists, and – as I’ve mentioned before – are hardly difficult to produce / have produced for presentation to interested visitors to the gallery.

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