DiXmiX 2017-2018 retrospective in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Cecilia Nansen Mode (December 2017) and Uma Sabra (September 2017)

DiXmiX Gallery is one of the most prolific galleries in Second Life in terms of the frequency of exhibitions. With three halls available for art, the gallery can feature up to three artists a month on a rolling basis, sometimes with exhibitions in the respective halls overlapping one another in their duration, a move which further helps to keep visits to the gallery fresh.

For the four weeks from August 17th, 2018, curator Dixmix Source is hosting a slightly different exhibition from the “norm” at the gallery: it is something of a retrospective of exhibitions held through 2017 and 2018, with the work of some 30 artists on display across all three halls and within the basement gallery of The Womb. As such, it is an opportunity to both revisit memories of past exhibits and  – for those unfamiliar with the art displayed at DiXmiX – the opportunity to sample its scope of the art to be found there.

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo and Magic Marker (April 2018)

The artists included in the exhibition are (dates in brackets refer to reviews in this blog): Elo (elorac Paule), Maloe Vansant and Uma Sabra (September / October 2017); Purple Leonis ONeill (Nel4481), Juris Bergmanis (JurisJo) and Imani Nayar (October 2017); Cecilia Nansen Mode (December 2017); Titus Palmira, Gaus (Cicciuzzo Gausman) and Burk Bode (February 2018); I’m A Magic Marker, Oyo and Mr. S (April 2018); Giovanna Cerise (May 2018); A. DeLauren (AlessaMendoza), Kimeu Korg and Kato Salyut (June 2018); together with Goodcross; Huckleberry Hax;  Vallys Baxter; Lou Shadow; Moon Edenbaum, Nur Moo, and DixMix himself.

The exhibit also incorporates  Bicycles (July 2018), relocated for this exhibition, a selection from Melusina Parkin’s Less is More (February 2018) and the Best of The Womb, featuring  Nath Baxton and Joslyn Benson, all of which can be found in the basement gallery, The Womb.

DiXmiX Gallery: Juris Bergmanis (October 2017)

DixMix is very much a gallery that leans towards avatar studies within the exhibitions it hosts – which given Dixmix himself is very much an exponent of the art of avatar studies, is an entirely natural bias – and this is very much reflected in this retrospective exhibition. As such, those pieces that focus on other elements of artistic expression, such as physical world art (represented here by Huckleberry Hax) and SL landscape art (notably, but not exclusively, Juris Bergmanis), tend to particularly capture the eye in scanning through the gallery. But don’t let this deceive you; there is a richness of narrative this is striking in every single image presented.

Several exhibitions at the gallery have been built around a theme by the artist, and capturing this in just one or two images isn’t really possible. Take Celicia Nansen Mode’s Within the Voice of Björk from December 2017, a captivating interpretations of female form, moods and feelings, beautifully through images and the music of the Icelandic singer (and still one of the most memorable exhibitions I’ve seen at DiXmiX). It was a stunning exhibit, but one not easily recaptured hen presenting just two of the images from the collection.

DiXmiX Gallery: Elo (September 2017) and Purple Leonis (October 2017)

However, Dixmix has sought to get around this issue where possible. With 12 Photographers and 1 Chair by Mr. S, and Bath Stories by Nur Moo, for example, the complete set of images for each are presented as a framed slide show, allowing all of them to be seen in turn. Sadly, due to the use of music with each of Celicia’s pieces, this approach wasn’t possible for With the Voice of Björk.

As noted, the exhibition is stated to run for the four weeks from August 17th, and offers an ideal introduction to DiXmiX gallery and the general style of art displayed there for those who have yet to visit, and a trip down memory lane for those of us who frequent the gallery.

DiXmiX Gallery: Oyo (April 2018)

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The art of Bicycles in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Bicycles – Melusina Parkin

Most of us have probably owned – or still own – a bicycle, whether it be for fun, sports, fitness, part of our daily working routine (or even a requirement to work) or simply an alternative means of getting out and about and enjoying the countryside / local sights. We can lavish care and attention on them to keep them in tip-top condition, or we can simply regard them as a utility and replace them when they get too old or break. But are they art?

Well, yes they can be – as the July / August 2018 exhibition at DiXmiX Gallery demonstrates. Entitled Bicycles, it is a slight departure from the more usual run of exhibitions at the gallery, in that it takes up all three halls as a single display of themed art, featuring images by 25 Second Life photographers.

DiXmiX Gallery: Bicycles – Anu Papp and Ornella Batriani

Taking part in the event are: Calypso Applewhyte, Ornella Batriani, Skippy Beresford, Bliss Bookham, Jimmy Boots, A.DeLauren, Mareea Farrasco, Carisa Franizzi, Gaus, Huckleberry Hax, Kimeu Korg, Loverdag, Mich Michabo, Key Monk, Tutsy Navarathna, Mr Noboby, Randonee Noel, Karen Oliven, Anu Papp, Melusina Parkin, Megan Prumier, Grace Rotunno, Dixmix Source, Twain, and Jonda Zabaleta, with each artist submitting one or two images.

The pieces vary in style and presentation. In some, it is not unfair to say that the bicycles might be considered incidental to the overall image; they were simply a part of the landscape or setting when the picture was taken. Equally, some appear to have been use to frame an image intended to convey a broader emotional response than a focus on the bike itself. Then there also those where the bicycle is clearly the intended focus, bit it being ridden, standing on its own, lying broken, or images just in part. Thus, we get to view the bicycle in numerous ways, whether central to an image or not.

DiXmiX Gallery: Bicycles – Tutsy Navarathna

Which is to say this is a richly diverse exhibition in which the subject matter is more broadly presented than one might think. All of the images are captivating in one way or another, be it the way in which they are offered, the narrative they encapsulate, the use of colour and tone – or the various combinations of these factors. Presentation is also a significant part of the images and their presentation: the collection of monochrome pictures on the upper level of the Grey Gallery, for example, offers a power contrast to the majority use of colour images through the rest of the exhibition, while the considered placement of Cloudy Day by Gaus and Bicycle 3 by Key Monk also providing a contrasts with their surrounding images, and thus capturing the eye. Meanwhile, the two large format images in the foyer area of the Grey Gallery demonstrate how humble velo can be an icon of pop art.

The emotional content of the images is equally as broad as the colours, tones and subjects offered through the pictures. But there is one emotion often associated with bicycles that within this exhibition is conspicuous by its almost total absence: joy.

DiXmiX Gallery: Bicycles – Skippy Beresford

Yes, bicycles can be props to frame moods and offer a sense of depth and feeling, be it with someone leaning moodily back against their bike, or walking it gently over terrain unsuitable for riding, or in the sight of a machine lying broken or bent. But bikes are also fun. Riding one can give a wonderful sense of freedom, a liberating sensation of speed and escape. It is for this reason I fairly leapt at Skippy Beresford’s Last Day of School (seen above). Yes, it’s not unfair to say the bicycle is in some ways incidental to the broader idea of escape from the routine a rigours of the school week – but it’s equally fair to say the sense of exuberance and excitement exuded by the picture perfectly encapsulated the sheer sense of joyful freedom a bicycle can offer.

Which is not to detract from any of the other images displayed here; all do have something to say, and all are fine examples of the subject and the artistry of the photographers. Why not take a ride to DiXmiX yourself and have a look?

DiXmiX Gallery: Bicycles – Jimmy Boots and Mr Noboby

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Colour, whimsy and monochrome in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: A DeLauren

DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source is once more hosting three exhibitions by three very different talents – although one of the exhibitions draws to a close during this current week. All three present some very unique art that tends to generate very mixed – in a positive sense – reactions on encountering individual pieces, making all three engrossing as individual displays of art.

Within the Grey Gallery, just inside the gallery’s main entrance, A. DeLauren – (AlessaMendoza) presents Colour Experiments, a display of 12 images split between the lower and mezzanine levels of the hall. As the title indicates, these are pieces where colour, perhaps more than subject, takes centre stage. The various ways in which colour and tone is quite extraordinary, from the violet wash of Rush Heat, suggestive of everything from erotic dancing, through to club lighting to the stunning and subtle use of blue tones  – ocean, teal, cerulean, Arctic, peacock and more – found in Wild Back.

DiXmiX Gallery: A DeLauren

Several of the pieces do draw attention to the central subject – as with Wild Back, and Dots Space; others border on a more surreal approach. Heat Wave 1, Triangles, Blue, and Butterflies Garden, for example, project feelings of motion within them or of looking into 3D anaglyph images without the aid of the required red / blue glasses.  Thus we are offered a most sui generis set of images to appreciate.

“Don’t burn your mind thinking about the meaning of this or that in my works; but if you think there are symbols and hidden messages, feel free to imagine. Go any way the wind blows!” So says Kimeu Korg of hi work, presented at DiXmiX under the title of Osmosis De Un Sueno.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

This largest of the three exhibitions, occupying the lower floor Black Gallery halls and for me, the most delightful and engrossing of the three. There is something about Kimeu’s art which so often offers us a unique perspective on Second Life, well removed from “the usual”. There is also in some of his work a wonderful blending of physical art with images and settings from Second Life which again gives cause to exercise the word “unique” in its most positive of connotations. Further, there is also – frankly – a depth of whimsy in so many of the pieces, that when viewing them, it’s hard not to feel as if we’re in Kimeu’s company, sharing a nod and a wink with him.

The sheer richness of narrative on offer in these images – be it simple whimsy coupled with a little dark humour, or the melding of physical world art into SL scenes – is extraordinary. The whimsy can be found in the likes of Wind Serenade and Dickens’s The Drunk and, with the dark humour in Curiosity… and  …Killed he Cat, which are a delightful pair of themselves, but in this exhibition sit almost as a triptych with Amanece, que no es poco (Sunrise, Which Is No Small Thing).

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

In contrast, Is This The End Of The World? not only sits as example of how Kimeu combines art from the physical world – in this case part of Michelangelo’s famous fresco The Creation of Adam – with a scene from Second Life to create something which is eye-catching and also rich in motif. Note the ghostly astronaut to the left of the scene, perhaps representing humanity’s pride in technological achievement (and pride, as we know, is said to come before a fall), the presence of an eagle with its Biblical connotations, matched by the presence of a serpent coiled in the lower left corner of the picture.

I could wax lyrical about all of the images in Osomsis De Un Sueno – I’ve not even touched on the sheer evocative power of First Flight or the richness of expression any lover of musical will recognise in Under A Hat Is Always Music. However, suffice it to say that if you miss this exhibition, you are missing an absolute delight. I just wish I could be sure of the provenance of the painting at the centre of the marvellously surreal El Cerco (The Fence); I’m fairly convinced the vessel is HMS Victory (often painted flying the red ensign), but I cannot put my finger on where I’ve seen this particular image before…

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Rounding out – albeit also coming to an end this week – this trio of exhibitions is Grit by Kato Salyut, which occupies the Mezzanine level White Gallery at DiXmiX.

“I photograph avatars and make them more exciting, more real and very special,” Kato says of his work, and the 14 images presented within Grit certainly offer some unique – surreal, even, in some cases – perspectives on their avatar subjects.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kato Salyut

Presented in monochrome, these images both contract strongly with the colours used in the other two exhibitions above, whilst the tone and approach of several of the pieces offered also complement the surreal and experimental aspects present in some of the works to be found in both Colour Experiments and Osmosis De Un Sueno. They also present a very different perspective on avatar studies often found with other artists.

Due to come to a close on the weekend of the 16th / 17th June, this is another visually powerful exhibition, and one which  – if you haven’t already seen – should be given time to appreciate in-world before it closes.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kato Salyut

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An artistic expression of philosophy in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery – Giovanna Cerise

Clinamen (clīnāre, to incline), is the name Roman poet and philosopher Titus Lucretius Carus gave to the unpredictable swerve of atoms, as a means of defending the Epicurian view of atomism. It is also the title Giovanna Cerise has chosen for her latest installation, now open at DiXmiX Gallery (you’ll find it in the The Atom club / event space within the gallery building).

Clinamen is the second recent exhibition by Giovanna which offers a philosophical lean (no pun intended), following as it does From the Worlds to the World (see here for more). It’s a piece that has broad philosophical foundations. There is Lucretius, as noted above, and the ancient philosophical science of atomism – the belief that nature consists pure of atoms and their surrounding void, and that everything that exists or occurs is the result of the atoms colliding, rebounding, and becoming entangled with one another as they travel through that void. Most notably, the piece is founded on the ideal of free will, as put forward by the Greek philosopher and science thinker, Epicurus.

DiXmiX Gallery – Giovanna Cerise

Epicurus was an atomist. However, he saw atomism as espoused by earlier thinkers such as Democritus as being to regulated. They believed atoms could only travel in straight lines. This meant that no matter how atoms struck one another or how many times they rebounded from one another, their paths were all pre-determined. Epicurus found this determinism to be too confining, as it left no room for free will. So instead, he believed the motion of some atoms could actually exhibit a “swerve” (parenklisis in Greek, clinamen in Latin), making their paths more unpredictable, thus reaffirming the role of free will.

Within her exhibition, Giovana offers a range of three-dimensional forms and structures. In the one hand, these are rigid, almost geometric in shape, offering a reflection of the deterministic element of atomism. Yet within them, edges are blurred and hard to see, while the geometry of some contain more natural, extruded forms while others have rippled, flowing surfaces. They cannot be the product of purely straight-line, deterministic flight, and so they reflect parenklisis and the more Epicurean view of atomism.

DiXmiX Gallery – Giovanna Cerise

This Epicurean view is ultimately born witness to by our own reactions to the installation. How we each chose to see and interpret / re-interpret the structures and forms presented bears witness to the exercise of our own free will.

In this way Clinamen is an intriguing play on art and philosophy; an exhibit where subjective reaction really does play an active role in perceiving the installation and the ideas on which it is founded, simply because doing so is an exercise in the application of free will.

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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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