Three at Club LA and Gallery in Second Life

Club LA and Gallery: Kapaan

October currently sees three expeditions in progress at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko Amano (Wintergeist), although I believe two will be closing at the end of the month. Between them, they offer three very different displays of art and perspectives, making all three an engaging visit.

The ground-level exhibitions both opened on October 3rd, and so many have a limited time left in their runs. They feature the work of Kapaan and Blues Rocker (BluesrockerResident) respectively.

Kapaan presents art that often carries a narrative theme, usually with a fantasy / dark fantasy element to it – and such is the case with several on the pieces here as they cast what might called Scenes from the Seed, presented in primal tones and featuring the character of Orobas (the Orobas, in human form?) and a glowing, seed-like orb.

Accompanying these is a set of more colourful avatar studies and a trio of landscape images. these again have treads of connection running through them, the colour red and umbrellas in the case of a couple of the landscapes, and the manner in which the avatar studies are mounted.

Club LA and Gallery: Blues Rocker

Across the hall, Blues Rocker presents an evocative set of images rich in colour, each standing on its own and strikingly unique when compared to the rest. Again, each has a story within it, hinted at by its title and ready to jump into the mind on viewing each piece in relation to that title. These are richly imaginative works, that reflect Blues’ philosophy when dealing with Second Life and his art.

I much prefer shooting out on location in the multitude of amazing sims which populate SL than in a studio, as I feel I get much better results that way. Since starting seriously taking photographs in SL, I have broadened my horizons in what wonders this virtual world has to offer. Really, the only limits are those of the imagination.

Blues Rocker

Club LA and Gallery: David Silence

The most recent of the three, having opened on Sunday, October 18th, is Spectrum by David Silence (JemapelSilence). Reached via a teleport station outside of the ground-level gallery space, this is also the most intriguing of the three, offering what might be said to be a display of personal introspection woven into other apparent contradictions – such as the title of the exhibition being a word that tends to first suggest colours, whilst the images themselves are entirely monochrome.

Of course, “spectrum” can be used in other contexts as well, such as “running the full spectrum of emotions” – and it is in this context that David uses the word, as he explains in Spectrum’s introductory notes. He combines it with that unique sense of self-awareness when we can perceive ourselves simultaneously in two ways: both from within, as we listen to that inner voice that can question our actions, motivations, emotional state, etc., and from without, as if we are projecting ourselves into the body of another and witnessing our actions / state of mind through their eyes.

The result is a series of images that might be subtitled Conversations and Observations with Myself. They comprise two figures  – one dressed, one naked – in various locations, clearly conversing and as if seen by someone else. This external view manifests the idea of projection beyond ourselves, but it would b a mistake to consider the figures as individuals.  Rather, they are one in the same: the dressed figure representing the externalisation of how we would like to be seen by others, and the naked representing out inner self, freed from the need to clothe thoughts and emotions. Thus we have a series of images depicting our relationship with ourselves, and the full spectrum of thought and feelings that can come with it.

Club LA and Gallery: David Silence

Three excellent excellent expeditions from three engaging artists.

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My Second Life Landscapes at Konect Art

Konect Art Gallery: Second Life Landscapes

I genuinely don’t like self-promotion, particularly when it comes to my Second Life photography ( which I view as blog illustrations rather than “art”). However a couple of months ago Gonzalo Osuna (Jon Rain) asked me to exhibit at his Konect Art Gallery – and was not going to take no for an answer!

So, running from Friday, October 16th through until the end of the month is an exhibition of some of the many images I’ve taken over the years as I’ve explored Second Life, entitled Second Life Landscapes.

Konect Art Gallery: Second Life Landscapes

I’ll admit that it is my biggest exhibition to date – and as such, I’m glad it has had something of a “soft” opening rather than a big splash, as I think I would have been too nervous to do anything more than  hide in a corner. When invited, and given past exhibits at the gallery, I was anticipating being one of two people displaying their work – so I was stunned, surprised and deeply flattered (as well as slightly panicked!) when I arrived to set-up this week and find that the entire gallery had been made available to me!

So, the result is some 35 of my images are offered across the two floors of the gallery in a relatively large format and which feature many of the places I’ve particularly enjoyed visiting since around 2014. I’ve even managed to include one or two that haven’t shown up in my Flickr stream!

Konect Art Gallery: Second Life Landscapes

Anyway, I’m not going to prattle on about things here – but I hope you’ll pop over to Konect Art between now and the end of October and have a look around. And while there, why not chill out to the sounds of Konecta Radio?

My thanks again to Gonzalo for the invitation to exhibit!

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A Space Oddity at Itakos Project in Second Life

Itakos Project: Space Oddity by Caly Applewhyte

October sees Akim Alonzo’s Itakos Project gallery host an exhibition of art that chimed a strong bell with me, thanks in part to my cosmological interest in astronomy, space exploration and science fiction. Located in the Black hall of the gallery, Space Oddity features a selection of 14 images that are predominantly monochrome in tone, with just touches of colour that give them an almost heartbeat-like splash of life.

It’s an exhibition that apparently grew out of a common interest both Caly and Akim share for the beauty of deep space, and also a mutual love of the music of David Bowie. Given Caly’s attraction to things like cybernetic enhancements and the use of prostheses in her avatar images, these interests combine to present a selection of 14 pieces that are framed by two stanzas from Bowie’s 1969 single, Space Oddity, released just five days ahead of the launch of Apollo 11 and which itself drew inspiration from the Kubrick / Clarke masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating in the most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

– David Bowie, Space Oddity, 1969

These 14 images take us on a voyage, one that wonderfully encompasses several elements, all of which could be said to be reflective of thoughts of space – inner and outer – whilst touching on elements of identity and of human progression and the state of the world around us.

Itakos Project: Space Oddity by Caly Applewhyte

Intentional or not, the offered images appear to be split into three groups, each with its own story, each of which it turn goes beyond the subject our deep space.

On entering the hall and turning to the left, the far end features a series of avatar images set against backdrops that seem to offer up views of who we are and what we might become, indicated by the various cybernetic and machine elements evident in some, and also by the almost tribal-like markings, some red and some blue. They also frame both the reality of our place in the cosmos (star fields and black voids suggestive of endless space) and the conceit that once attempted to put us at the centre of the universe (a head at the centre of an orrery, the planets orbiting around it).

A further set show a hardsuited figure on a planetary surface, mechanical hands clutching a posey of daisies. These again perhaps offer a mix of themes. On the one hand, they could indicate the wonder of the universe that somewhere out there, one day, on another world, we may well encounter the beauty of life (represented by the daises), that we will cherish. But  might they also tell other stories? One perhaps that not matter how far we progress in space, Earth – as represented by the daisies – will always call to us? Or another that stands as a warning that if we do not start nurturing the world around us, the only way we might come to see its open spaces is from within the confines of hardsuits, the promise of life a scarce an precious find within its barren fields?

Itakos Project: Space Oddity by Caly Applewhyte

For here am I sitting in my tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

– David Bowie, Space Oddity, 1969

The final group of images take us to the original theme of the exhibition as discussed by Caly and Akim: that of floating in space. But here again the interpretation of the images is mixed.

On the one hand, the presence of the odd little fish, with their translucent scales revealing their skeletal forms suggest some of these images don’t represent outer space, but the inner space of an ocean. But is this again the ocean of another world, and the fish its strange inhabitants? Or is it a reminder that there is a vast “cosmos” around us on this very planet within the oceans that make up the majority of its surface, there is much that we have yet to discover – including the wonder of lifeforms of which we’ve remained ignorant for so long? It is, again for you to decide the narrative – although, as with the other images, selecting one story does not exclude any of these others.

Itakos Project: Space Oddity by Caly Applewhyte

Multi-layered, beautifully presented Space Oddity is a marvellously engaging exhibit that should be seen by all who appreciate art that stirs both the heart and the mind.

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Poppy and Thus at Third Eye Gallery in Second Life

Third Eye Gallery: Thus Yootz

The October 2020 exhibition at the Third Eye Gallery, curated by Jaz (Jessamine2108), brings with it a selection of art by Poppy (Popikone) and a second by Thus Yootz, both of who present pieces that are captivating to the eye and rich in narrative.

Poppy is a physical world photographer who discovered Second Life somewhat by chance: whilst entering various physical world photo challenges presented through Flickr she came across the work of Second Life photographer and became entranced by what she saw to the point of signing-up and getting involved. Since joining, she has become deeply involved in in-world photography to the point that she notes she has a backlog of around 2,000 images she has yet to process and upload.

Third Eye Gallery: Poppy (Popikone)

Despite this, Poppy has never publicly exhibited her work in SL until Jaz approached her about this exhibition. Within it, she presents 26 images that are somewhat thematically defined as you view them, with some focused on water and boats, others on landscapes, and others on avatar and art. These are presented in a number of styles, some of which are mindful of painting styles (Girl in Blue) for example, with its Neo Impressionism overtones), others of which might be said to lean more towards Expressionism or Abstract). Many have a rich vein of narrative within them, some quite captivatingly so, while her use of colour brings her landscape images very much to life.

Third Eye Gallery: Poppy (Popikone)

Narrative is also very much present within Thus Yootz’s work. With an MA in art, Thus has no fear in experimenting in style and genre, and here she presents a total of nine pieces, each individual and unique, encompassing a range of themes as well as artistic styles. Within some, there is a sense of abstract expressed through the use of colour (I Wish the fog would Lift and Sunny Summer Filled with Colour). Others offer rich studies, and I found myself particularly drawn to Sola Festa and – most particularly – Fantasy Garden Statues, which has a stunning depth and richness of story to it that is remarkable.

This is only the third time I’ve witnessed Thus’ work on display, and as the first two times her work was part of a larger ensemble exhibition, it is the first time I’ve been able to study it in the depth it deserves – and I hope to see more in the future as it is genuinely evocative.

Third Eye Gallery: Thus Yootz

Similarly, I hope that following this exhibition, Poppy will accept further opportunities to display her work – and gallery owners will seek her out as well, as she is richly deserving of the opportunity.

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Jamee and Matt at Raging Graphix in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Jamee and Matt

The October exhibition at Raging Graphix Gallery, curated by Raging Bellls, brings us a joint exhibition by Jamee and Matt Thompson, perhaps between known to many in Second life as Jamee Sandalwood and MTH63, who recently officially partnered in SL.

Both are well known for their photography depicting the sights and art of Second Life, their individual styles an engaging mix of the contrasting and the complimentary, depending on subject and  – I assume – mood. Indeed, so complimentary are their styles that but for the tell-tales evident in some of the piece in this exhibition, and the occasional presence of a name in a canvas corner, all of the photographs offered here might be mistaken as being captured by the same photographer.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Jamee Thompson (Jamee Sandalwood)

Jamee’s work encompasses several genres, including landscapes, avatar studies, fashion photography and abstract pieces, although her landscapes predominant here. These generally tend towards softer tones and lighting, carefully processed to give a genuine feel for the time of day that frames them. However, more recently she has moved towards what she refers to as”shadow photography”, using both the play of light and shadows to create elements within her images, while at times also leaning towards darker tones in over composition.

Matt has also built a reputation as a landscape photographer, again as evidence in the pieces included in this exhibition. However, were Jamee sways towards softer tones and post-processed finishes, Matt often tends towards sharper, cleaner lines and finishes that – even when portraying reflections on the water – give his work a more crystalline finish, one so sharp in places that it feels as if a brush of the fingers over some of the lines of his images might well cut the finger.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson (MTH63)

This sharpness gives his pieces a sense of life and realism comparable to Jamee’s work, one that like hers reaches beyond the digital realm in which they were taken to offer something very tangible, whilst that same sharpness mentioned above offers that subtle contrast to Jamee’s work, gently pointing to the fact these these are pieces produced by two individual artists, even as they are unified by subject matter and tonal quality that can unify them into a single exhibit.

This complimentary flow is perhaps seen in the four pictures along the longest wall of the exhibition space, in which two of Matt’s landscapes bracket two of Jamee’s pieces that lie within her more “shadow photography” approach. The contrast of hard and soft lines, be it through finish or the use of the shadows inherent within the location where an image was taken and the tonal qualities of all four pieces, even with the differing approaches to post-processing offer all four as a continuous whole, the eye running easily across them as if they had sprung from the one artist’s eye and hand.

Raging Graphix Gallery, Matt and Jamee

Engaging, bold, and with a personal touch through the inclusion of The Rings, a piece marking their recent union in Second Life, this is another excellent exhibition at Raging Graphix, and it will run through until the latter later of October.

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Art and the ecosystem at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Animals on Earth

The start of October brings with it the opening – on Monday October 5th at 12:30 SLT – another provocative exhibition at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas.

Nitroglobus remains one of my most-visited (and most written about!) galleries because month in and mouth out, Dido encourages some of the most engaging artists to display their work there, and to do so within the frame of a theme she – or more usually the artist – has set. The result is that each most, Nitroglobus plays host to art that can provoke, evoke, emote, and engage on a level that I personally cannot help but find magnetic.

For October, the gallery is playing host to an installation put together by two artists working together under the banner of Dreamers & Co. They are Nette Reinoir (Jeanette Reinoir) – who is exhibiting her work within a gallery for the first time – and Livio Korobase, and they are  supported in part by drawings from the portfolio of physical world Dutch artist, Redmer Hoekstra.

Entitled Animals on Earth, the installation is designed to encourage us to use this time of enforced pause in our lives courtesy of the SRS-COV-2 pandemic to consider what is happening to the world’s ecosystem – its flora and fauna – directly as a result of mankind’s impact on the planet.

Modern societies have been treating Mother Earth as if it was their property; extracting resources, polluting constantly, changing the landscape, killing the animals and destroying its natural balance.
Since the Industrial Revolution, humanity has killed 83% of all wild mammals and half of all the plants on Earth. Two hundred species of living beings are extincted every single day. We collectively need to change so many things in areas such as the use of plastic, meat consumption, contaminating energies, day-to-day overconsumption and more.

– Statement by the artists

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Animals on Earth

Now to be sure, statistics and figures need context, and those relating to “daily” extinction rates can be called into question, as they tend to be inconsistent. For example, in 2015 the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment concluded that perhaps some 24 species of plant, insect and animal became extinct either regionally or globally every day – but the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity put the figure at “up to 150”, a far larger number, even allowing for the “up to”. Other models present further differing rates, and all appear to be distanced from the fact that historically, we have “only” seen around 800 global extinctions of animals (land, air and marine), during the last 400 years.

However, this does not negate Animals on Earth‘s thematic message. The current epoch – the Holocene – is regarded as encompassing the sixth mass extinction level event (ELE) this planet has seen, the Anthropocene extinction; and event that is still very much on-going, and potentially accelerating. It has its roots in natural climate change as the Pleistocene period, with its rolling waves of ice ages, gave way to the warmer, wetter Holocene period, leading to the extinction of many of the large mammalian species that had acclimatised to the cold, dry ice ages, and an a matching marine megafungal extinction event that brought an end to many marine reptiles and fish due to changing sea temperatures.

But this period of extinctions was influenced by another factor: the rise of humans as organised hunter-gatherers, which gave rise to the first wave of over-hunting, accelerating the demise of many species. It was the start of a trend of human intervention and meddling in Earth’s ecosystem that has continued throughout the Holocene period such that within a few thousands of years, humankind has had one of the most dramatic impacts the Earth’s biomass has witnessed.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Animals on Earth

From over-hunting, to disrupting natural environment as a result of increasing agricultural needs (notably livestock rearing) through to large-scale urban and other development and its associated infrastructure and waste, humans have significantly altered the world’s biomass in multiple ways,  own of the biggest being the distribution of mammalian life on Earth, which in 2018 was shown to be 36% humans, 60% livestock (notably cattle and pigs) and just 4% wild animals (source: The biomass distribution on Earth, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Nor does it end there; as the pre-eminent apex predator, human kind is regarded as a megahunter due to our predisposition to hunt and kill creatures pure for “sport” – an act that significantly increases the risk of regional (and even global) extinction of multiple species.

Thus, through our actions, we are directly responsible for continuing the Anthropocene extinction, and thanks to our broader impact on the climate, we are pretty much its primary driver. Our actions are bringing multiple species of fauna and flora and biota dangerous close to the edge of global extinction, we have irrefutably been responsible for many regional extinctions (rendering portions of the world and its oceans no longer habitable by species that once occupied them, even if those species survive to some degree elsewhere) over the last several decades.

It is all of this that Animals on Earth tries to encompass, and it tries to do so not by brow-beating with facts and figures or by doing so by being unduly heavy in its imagery, but by presenting us with images and models and interactive elements that in places fun (do make sure you kiss the frog) and which also serve to get the grey matter working, even if subconsciously.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Animals on Earth
Flow with the thoughts and you’ll discover nature illustrates the Creator’s powers, whoever he/she is. Most of us, however, fail to appreciate nature because we’re entangled in our fast-paced lives, and life’s problems cloud our minds from grasping its beauty and lessons. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution, unfettered urbanization, and wars cause disasters to the natural environment. Little wonder we see less of nature and more of guns, nukes, and bloodshed in our cities.

Statement by the artists

Rich in colour thanks to Nette’s images, and very interactive thanks to Livio’s models and scenery (be sure to mouse-over things carefully – even  Redmer Hoekstra’s drawing are more than they seem – Animals on Earth encourages the visitor to consider Earth’s biodiversity as represented by the creatures with who we share the world, and presses us to imagine what life would be like in general terms were we to lose them.

With much to see and do – and to mull over / research – Animals on Earth officially opens to music by DJ Gorilla on Monday, October 5th,  appropriately enough, and will remain open through the rest of October.

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