My Anonymous Shadow in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: My Anonymous Shadow

My Anonymous Shadow is the intriguing name of an exhibition of work by Dixmix Source, owner and curator of DiXmiX Gallery, that opened on Saturday, January 19th, 2019. On display are 12 images focusing on – as the name implies – the photographer’s shadow, or in some cases the artist’s avatar presented as a shadow; hence the intriguing nature of the exhibition.

It’s an innovative approach to presenting what might be thought of as avatar studies; within each image we see an anonymous figure; a silhouette, sometimes cast by light across a floor or wall, and others, the shadowy outline of a figure expressing emotion or framed within a setting, or abstractly caught in what otherwise be the pages of a graphic novel. But in each and every one of them, the black figure is both the centre of the image, yet (literally) a dark unknown.

DiXmiX Gallery: My Anonymous Shadow

With a considered use of colour in some of the images (more blatant in the likes of Shadow 5 and Shadow 7; softer and more refined in the likes of Shadow 9 and Shadow 11), the use of abstract presentation (again, Shadow 9 together with Shadow 3 and its mirror twin, Shadow 12), and carefully composed character studies (such as Shadow 8  and Shadow 10), this is a fascinating series. There is a narrative within each piece, waiting to be told – and that narrative very much depends on how you approach this exhibition.

For example, they might be considered individually, and as they were formed: pieces depicting an actual shadow cast on a surface, or a figure shown in deliberate silhouette. Viewed in this way, the story each image tells tends to be one of composition, balance, tone, capture and presentation; the play of light and dark, the contrast of shadow and object, in which the shadow / silhouette is divorced from association with a person, but is simply a component part of the artist’s use of contrasting elements to complete the whole, even when as expressive as Shadow 8.

DiXmiX Gallery: My Anonymous Shadow

But if they are considered as a whole, and within the context of the title, the narrative becomes more involved and branched. On the one hand, they could be taken as imaginings on what our shadows might be doing whilst we are otherwise occupied: out in their own world, exploring, experiencing, searching. On the other, these pieces might be seen as reflections of thoughts and emotions; considerations on identity, place, relationships that are personal to the photographer; yet at the same time, the very anonymity of the figure within each renders them as reflections of moods, events, feels, that we, the observers have experienced and can instantly recall in viewing them.

Thus, My Anonymous Shadow becomes a fascinatingly layered exhibition, one which can be enjoyed purely from the artistic expression each piece presents, and / or for the more narratives and ideas that lie just below the surface – or should I say, within their shadows?

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The monochrome beauty of the female body

DiXmiX Gallery: The Huntress

Warning: the images in this article are NSFW.

Now open at DiXmiX Gallery is an exhibition by The Huntress (TheHuntressSnare) simply entitled The Huntress. It presents 15 monochrome images, all of them nude studies of The Huntress, and which stand as a celebration of the female body.

DiXmiX Gallery: The Huntress

By using monochrome, rather than colour, the images The Huntress presents a series of images that have a certain depth that might otherwise be lost. The dark background used in each tends to focus the eye and the mind much more keenly. This results in two things: it brings added life to the studies whilst also making no bones about the sheer sensuality contained within them. Within many of them, this is not only a woman comfortable with her body, she is prepared to delight in it and decorate it for her own pleasure.

The more sensual nature of the pieces displayed obviously also casts the observer into the role of voyeur. While obviously posed, there is a natural fluidity to several of the images that suggest the subject is perhaps unaware of the camera: the position of a hand over a breast as if stroking, or hovering over the midriff – as if a few more minutes would see the subject caught in flagrante delicto.

DiXmiX Gallery: The Huntress

Obviously, such voyeuristic leanings, coupled with the level of nudity on display might put some off; on the other hand there is no denying the artistry involved in these images: the posing, the lighting, the angle and cropping. Each is in itself a study in the art of photography. They are also, possibly somewhat autobiographical, reflecting the artist’s own freedom from, and acceptance of, self.

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Art Neveux in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Art Neveux

Open until the end of January 2019 at The Womb, the basement gallery space at DiXmiX Gallery, is Art Neveux, by Nevereux, and which I assume is a little play on her name and the term art nouveau.

A selection of constructs that offer 3D works designed to appear almost two-dimensional, this a somewhat difficult selection of art to quantify, being very subjective in nature – as Nevereux herself notes:

Design is fine. History is mine. An argument for art. Prim-cakes and some technology. Around the corner there is some extreme context. Others, so deliberately meaningless. If you want, it’s slathering jam on a toast. Sticking just for fun. And may whatever holds you up stay forever beneath you.  

DiXmiX Gallery: Art Neveux

These are all pieces that are decidedly geometric in nature, presented in black and white, with red at times putting in an appearance. The net result is a series of stark – in the sense of their boldness – pieces that nevertheless have within them a sense of balance. Whilst art nouveau may well be suggested by the exhibition title, I’d perhaps lean towards its presence in the works here being only in a very modern interpretation; I tended to look on many of the pieces as being more abstract in nature, with some also carrying art deco motifs.

What I did find particularly interesting is the manner in which much of the art has been constructed. Rather than being completely original, most of the individual pieces are in fact constructs put together using building components by the likes of VetronUK, Chaser Haks and Isabelle Stoop. There is nothing wrong with art being created in this way, it happens all the time in the physical world; however, seeing the manner in which building components have been used within these pieces did have me recalling a discussion around an installation by another artist (and in another place) from earlier in the year.

DiXmiX Gallery: Art Neveux

Within that other installation, use was made of a series of mesh items readily available via the SL Marketplace, with little or no change made to them beyond outside of some retexturing. This led to a question being raised on whether the inclusion of such elements constituted “fair use”, and whether they justified the installation as a work of art; the argument being that their use hadn’t been sufficiently “transformative” to warrant either. It was not a view to which I could agree; I felt the inclusion of such elements was both fair and transformative, simply because they were integral to one’s response to, and interpretation of, the installation as a whole.

Such is the case here. Yes, many of the components used are “off the shelf” mesh shapes and forms designed to assist builders. However, the manner in which they have been brought together within individual pieces is transformative, both in terms of their individual use and in our interpretation of each complete piece.

DiXmiX Gallery: Art Neveux

There is also, in keeping with Nevereux’s own words, a sense of playfulness and illusion about some of the pieces offered (such as Palm Leaf, Belong, Warrior and Perspective, each of which should be cammed over carefully). These perhaps stand in reflection of the artist’s own nature – or perhaps a reminder that perhaps we shouldn’t look to deeply into individual pieces in order to discern “meaning”.

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Megan Prumier at DiXmiX

DiXmiX Gallery: Megan Prumier

Megan Prumier has been a presence at DiXmiX Gallery since it opened. She is responsible for the galleries’ overall look, some of her work has often been a subtle presence in the gallery. However for December 2018, she takes centre stage at the gallery with a major exhibition of her photography.

Moments of Intimacy is located in the Gallery’s lower floor Black exhibition hall. It is somewhat NSFW exhibition featuring nudity, but this should not overshadow the fact that it is captivating in tone and presentation.

DiXmiX Gallery: Megan Prumier

Some 17 images are present, all self-studies. Each presents a combination of a moment, a mood, an emotion, and / or a feeling – or some combination of these elements. In using just a single character in each piece, Megan presents a series of great personal depth; we are not so much viewing images as sharing in a particular moment of intimacy – be it happy, sad, introverted or extroverted.  In this, the nudity / potential erotic nature of any given image runs somewhat secondary to the story it has to tell.

Taken on its own, this is a remarkable exhibit, one that draws the viewer into the pieces on offer with great subtleness. When taken with Kimeu Korg’s Osmosis De Un Sueño, displayed on the mezzanine level (and which you can read about here), Moments of Intimacy has perhaps the perfect partnership.

DiXmiX Gallery: Megan Prumier

While the two artists are very different in tone and style, and yet they complement one another perfectly in the way in which both resonate at the emotional / mood level. As such, and even if you’ve previously seen Kimeu’s exhibition, I strongly recommend taking the time to see both side-by-side whilst they are both on display.

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Kimeu Korg: a return to DiXmiX in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Saturday, November 24th saw the opening of a new exhibition at DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source. Osmosis De Un Sueño: The Return sees Kimeu Korg return for the second part of an exhibition first witnessed in June 2018 (read here for more), moving to the White Gallery at DiXmiX this time around.

Kimeu is perhaps Second Life’s most rooted in surrealism in the presentation of his work, which can easily equal the likes of Max Ernst and René Magritte. Sometimes blending in-world images with elements from the physical world, for this part of Osmosis De Un Sueño, he presents pieces firmly produced in-world, several of which include his sense of whimsy, others of which present a more pointed expression.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

This part of the exhibition offers a baker’s dozen of images to b appreciated. I don’t usually ascribe an order in which to view an exhibition unless the artist has indicated one, but with Osmosis De Un Sueño: The Return, I would recommend starting a visit by taking the steps closest to the gallery’s main entrance up to the mezzanine level White Gallery.

Doing so will take you past Look and Retrato Equestre (Equestrian Portrait) into the core of Kimeu’s exhibition, allowing the full richest of his surrealist approach come to the fore, peppered in places with his sense of humour – and his ability to question norms, as with the subtle Prisoner, beautifully layered in potential meaning as it is, despite Kimeu’s disarming claim about his work.

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Given the preponderance of skeletons in the pieces, one might think there is a little touch of post-Halloween in the exhibit, but to me these are in some way a lead up to what I consider to be the last piece in the exhibition – or at least, the one I would recommend coming to last of all, sitting above the entrance to the gallery’s events venue, The Atom.

Entitled Blind Obedience, it is a sobering piece, one which in the toxic political environment prevalent in parts of the world today, perhaps bears a special meaning and / or warning. Such is the imagery used, it sits well apart from the rest as it makes an extraordinarily strong statement, one given added impact by viewing it last of all (and the reason I’m not reproducing it here – it should be seen first-hand).

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

Another remarkable exhibition by one of Second Life’s most remarkable artists, and one that should not be missed as it remains open through until at least late December 2018.

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Purple Leonis: Witch at DiXmiX

DiXmiX Gallery: Witch

Opening at 12:00 noon on Saturday, October 27th at DiXmiX Gallery is a special exhibition of art by Purple Leonis ONeill (Nel4481). Entitled Witch, it celebrates the mystery and mysticism of Halloween as a time of witchcraft and dark magic by recalling the story of a woman whose fate is very much tied to black magic and dark arts.

Welcome,

My name is Madeleine and I’m a witch …. well …. I was … here is my story.

Thus we are introduced to the protagonist of the story, a woman who went against her times to seek out the forbidden, to communicate with the dead, and to join with other women of like mind to found a coven.

DiXmiX Gallery: Witch

Though brief, the story colours her life sufficiently for us to track it from that first evening of temptation through until her death at the hands of local villagers. It is a story reflected in the  images arranged into the lower and upper floors of the gallery’s Grey Hall, itself decorated to presented a suitably haunting look.

The images are striking both in their richness of character, and in the manner in which they both illustrate and add subtext to Madeleine’s tale. Some show her awakening through subtle means: a seemingly gentle evening game with a cat (felines – albeit generally black ones – being the usual familiar for witches) or the innocent-looking brush of fingers over a Bible. Others are more direct: caught in a Ouija board induced trace, naked dancing around a night-time fire in the depths of a forest and – ultimately, trapped at the stake as the flames rise.

One night, everything has changed. Village men came to capture me. That night sounded my end….
Beaten, maltreated, tied up by the villagers, I was tied to the pyre of those condemned for witchcraft.

DiXmiX Gallery: Witch

With – again appropriately  – 13 images in total, the exhibition sits as both a display of art and – in a sense – a graphic novel telling Maeleine’s tale. My one small quibble with the story is the date on the tale: 1890, a time long after he period when women would be burned for the perception of their witchcraft.

Music for the opening will be provided by Miss Dee Hannaha, and given the nature of the event  – although it is not openly stated – suitable dress may will be appreciated.

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