Currently on display at Diotima Art Gallery curated by Redi (Red Bikcin), is Hot Summer, an exhibition of art by Kimeu Korg. As the title suggests, it features images – fifteen in total – depicting summertime scenes; or which are for the most part summertime scenes!
I admit to being something of a fan of Kimeu’s art, as he has a wonderful sense of whimsy and also an eye for creating thought-provoking images that can draw upon the abstract and / or the absurd or comical to pull the observer into them. Some of this talent is on display within the pieces presented here, although most are perhaps more “traditional” in nature – albeit with various motifs that also make Kimeu’s work so attractive.
The more comical can be seen in the likes of (13), located on the the right of the entry hall of the gallery. It features Kimeu standing on a beach in white, singing lustfully, a microphone in one hand and a rubber chicken held outstretched in the other, it’s beak agape as if singing in accompaniment. Set against a calm sea and sandy foreground – two of the aforementioned motifs that can be found as a theme to many of the pieces here – it cannot fail to raise a smile.
Whimsy is evident front-and centre in some of these pieces – notably in the likes of (8), found in the far corner (relative to the entrance) of the L-shaped gallery, but also far more gently, such as with (4), which at a first casual glance might appear to be an ordinary image of a man standing on that sandy shoreline and looking out over sunny waters to where Orca-like fins rise above the waves, a dog and puppy – until you take a second look, and realise the “dog” and “puppy” are in fact a seal and her pup.
Finished as paintings – both oil and watercolour in looks – and also as coloured drawings, Kimeu’s pictures always have a life of their own that is unique within Second Life, something that also increases the appeal of seeing them exhibited, and this collection is no exception. It will remain open through to the end of Thursday, September 5th, and a visit is strongly recommended.
Now open at Kultivate Magazine’s The Edge Gallery is the August-September exhibition of black-and-white / monochrome art and photography.
The featured artists for the exhibition are Tatjab, MTH63, Wintergeist, Chic Aeon, Belua Broadfoot, Illrya Chardin, Sophie Congrego, Roxaane Fyanucci, Euridice Qork, and someone called Inara Pey, who is really just along for the ride. The artists offer a rich mix of portraiture and landscape images in their selections, as well as a mix of styles that make for an engaging exhibition.
While the range of images is both deep and broad, I admit to finding myself repeatedly gravitating towards two of the artists in particular. The first is Tatjab – also known as tattoo artist (hence his SL and Twitter handle of “Tatjab”), painter, and pencil portrait artist, Jesse Boren. Located on the upper mezzanine level of the gallery and facing the entrance, he presents fourteen pencil portraits taken from the physical world that are utterly stunning.
Ranging from fantasy pieces (such as portraits of Cthulhu) through personal pieces (Blaze, Leland and Pam’s Grandpa, for example) to those of famous individuals such as Barrack Obama, Sir Anthony Hopkins (as Hannibal Lecter) and Clint Eastwood (as Josey Wales), these are truly marvellous pieces, one and all; the manner in which the very essence and life force of Hopkins, Eastwood (a picture I could barely take my eyes off of!) and guitarist Justin Furstienfled has been captured is just amazing – as is true of all the other pieces Tatjab offers here.
Just to the left of Tatjab’s area in the gallery are nine pieces by Euridice Qork. All are avatar portraits and studies, but again I found myself repeatedly drawn to them because each and every one is powerfully evocative in its own very individual way. Within them all, one can find a sense of the subject’s self or can feel an emotional response or been drawn to thinking about a certain era – or perhaps all three, and more.
Take, for example the rightmost image of the woman at the microphone. While her style of dress might be a little more risqué than would likely have been the case at the time, the pose, the soft-focus background, the poise of the fingers of her left hand – all evoke a sense of 1940-1950s America, and a time when both jazz groups and big bands fronted by a vocalist where the means of a Saturday evening’s entertainment. Indeed, each time I look at this particular image, I cannot help but hear the words of Blue Moon, accompanied by a lone trumpet playing in the background.
Two other artists exhibiting here to and to whom I was drawn are Chic Aeon and MTH63 each of whom can be found on the lower floor of the gallery.
Chic opts for a series of close-up images of items in-world. In this, I found the images to carry an echo of a technique that has become a signature of Melusina Parkin, and which I find particularly engaging: close-ups that suggest they are part of a large scene or story. In their presentation, be they focused on suitcases stacked one upon another or an oar in an aged and damaged rowing boat or the partially open drawers of a dresser, they drawer us to them, encouraging us into them in an attempt to peek beyond their borders, so to speak, and discern the wider story that may be just out of sight.
MTH63 offers a series of images of locations within Second Life, but rather than present them as “simple” monochrome pieces, he offers all but one of them as “negatives”, or perhaps reverse processed images (as used in the motion picture industry). Thus we’re presented with five unique views of settings within Second Life, with the one “positive” image sitting within them as the focal “glue” to MTH63’s “album”.
Truth be told, all of the artists featured in this exhibition offer a unique perspective on SL photography, be their work focused on avatars or landscapes or a mix of the two. The only potential exception is yours truly – and I say this not out of any sense of false modesty or to seek praise, but simply because I do not consider myself an artist. My images are purely intended for illustrative purposes within this blog; they are not posed, nor do they share depth of creative nuance evident in the other images, be it with framing, lighting, post-processing, and so on. As such, I count myself fortunate to be included in an exhibition where there are some genuinely breath-taking pieces.
Vibes Gallery, curated by Eviana Robbiani, is currently home to an untitled exhibition featuring Sunset Theas, Paola Mills, Lyack Glenwalker, Megan Prumier, and Aurora Donner. Given some of the images involve nudity, it should perhaps be considered an exhibition that is NSFW.
Immediately inside the entrance to the gallery is a quartet of images by Sunset Theas that follow a theme of their own, perhaps best described as condensing the seven stages of life into four evocative monochrome images, entitled, Embryonic, Birth, Life and Death. As the titles imply, each captures a moment in time and life.
The use of monochrome, soft focus and life and shadow serve to make each of these pieces an intriguing study that fully captures the essence of their titles. Take Embryonic, for example. The use of depth of field and the off-centre capture are so suggestive of an ultrasound scan, with just enough form and substance for us to understand what we are seeing.
And so the images progress: Birth using light and shadow and a huddled form that offers the idea of a babe is dark swaddling; Life offers a image of the full vitality of a person in their prime, the use of a mask preventing us from being drawn into studying the model, but considering that broader idea of life. Then depth, with it simple setting, soft focus and back view of a naked body without adornment of clothing or within the setting is simply glorious – if such a term can be used – in its presentation of the body’s emptiness in death.
At the far end of the gallery space are four images by Megan Prumier that again offer a theme; this one using reflections in the form of overlaid images of the female body. Each displays a considered use of technique that makes the nudity within the images secondary to their narrative. Take Warm Shivers, for example; the marvellous placement of the image, one copy superimposed over the other wonderfully suggests both someone feeling the cold in their nudity whilst at the same time presenting the idea of receiving warm comfort from someone close.
Between these two groups lie another set of four images by Paola Mills, and two pairs of images by Lyack Glenwalker and Aurora Donner. I admit to being unfamiliar with the latter two, but again, on the strength of the two images presented here, Lyack has a talent for producing images rich in narrative. Certainly, his images reflect the stories inherent in the four pieces offered by Paola, while Aurora’s pair of studies round-out the exhibition nicely.
HippiMagic Art Studio and Gallery has relocated, and now occupies a part of a Full region. While the latter is still being developed by Sophie72 Congrejo, the gallery’s curator and the region holder, the art exhibitions have re-opened, with August seeing something of a change-up with the art on display.
Within the garden area of the gallery are displays by Anibrm Jung, featuring a mix of her Second Life and Real Life photography mounted on the wall of the gallery building. This is one the most diverse selections of Ani’s art that I’ve seen in an exhibition like this, featuring as it does her always stunning physical world macro photography, and a range of styles an finishes to her SL art that are truly engaging.
Also in the garden as a corner display of physical world photography by Phenix Wonder. This is actually my first exposure to Phee’s work, and again, her use of the macro lens in some of the pieces is superb; just take Sun Pattern and Thistle as two examples (seen below, left). Just nine pieces are offered here, but they are enough to captivate the eye – and to leave me hoping to see more of her work in the future.
The gallery building continues to exhibit the work of Wintergeist, another artist I admire, together with Sophie’s own images as well, both of which I wrote about back in June 2019 (see Art with a touch of HippiMagic in Second Life).
Outside in the square is the Woodstock Art Contest. This features images by MikeMazrok, Kalyca McCallen, Jeri Rahja, Doris Johnsky, FreeDom Voix, Dido Haas, Edwige Monroe and Fluer Heartsdale.
As the name suggests, this is a contest with a focus on the 1960s and Woodstock, with the images reflecting the hippy counter-culture epitomised by Woodstock. The winners for the contest will be announced on Sunday, August 18th, with a party featuring live singer StayAwayJoe from 12:00 noon, SLT.
Veritas (“truth”) is a selection of images by Anu Papp split into two groups of fives images apiece in the gallery’s two exhibition wings. Avatar studies all, the majority appear to be a mix of self-portraits and images that feature Anu’s SL partner Ferdinand, with around three photos of friends rounding out the mix.
Each of the images has its own sense of mood and presence, which can be added to by hovering the mouse over each in turn to see the title displayed. In this, I found the title of the exhibit somewhat intriguing. While each of the images offers its own narrative (and insight into mood, the possible creative intent), etc., there is little that intrinsically link the images back to the ideal of truth.
This actually offers a possible conundrum, as it leaves those so minded (like myself) to ponder over title and subject. Is the title a reference to the truth that however hard we try to insist “SL is SL and RL is RL and never the twain shall meet”, we actually cannot avoid imbuing our avatars with some (or all) of the traits and foibles of our personalities? Is it the truth that our avatars present the means for each of us to express our inner self to the world more openly and as we would like to be seen by others?
Determining what truth is being referred to can have darker shades, such as the idea is there in truth no beauty? For truth is harsh to almost everyone; it forces us to accept our flaws and snap out of our grand illusions – and our avatars are perhaps one of our grandest illusions. So beautiful they may be – but do that reflect truth? But what then of the individual titles of the pieces presented? Do they fall into place with the idea that in truth, our digital presence is mere illusion, or do they push back against it, revealing that other truth referenced above: that they actually reveal who we are, more so that all of the masks we might otherwise wear in life?
Not that this exhibition demands we engage in such an internal debate. The images are captivating in and of themselves – and I admit to becoming very drawn to the two period pieces offered. Both are marvellously presented, and the case of Les Nobles in particular, I once again saw the greatest truth Second Life offers to us: that no matter who or where we are in life, SL gives our imaginations wings.
For the first installation Electric presents Orizuru (“folded crane” or “paper crane”) by Kaiju Kohime with Electric Monday. With a focus on origami that plays into the use of paper as a writing surface and its use in artistic expression, this is the story of two people who communicate entirely by letter and in the hope of meeting.
The landing point for the installation is in the sky, where an introduction can be found, together with a teleport down to the installation proper. Here the story begins at a little pair of houses and an ice cream van, where two figures stand back-to-back, symbolising the story’s protagonists, Elise and Henri. Sheets of paper drop from the hands of the male figure, pointing the way to the water where the first two letters between the couple can be found.
Follow the stepping stones to the nearby island, and further pairs of letters between Elise and Henri can be found, their story unfolding on the written pages. Colours beneath the water tehn lead visitors onwards to more of the story as it unfolds across the installation.
Will Henri and Elise meet? That’s for those who visit to decide. The landscape, meanwhile, with its folded cranes, origami birds and paper rocks and trees, with paper clouds floating overhead, presents a visually attractive setting in which to follow the story.
Those wishing to keep up-to-date with events at The Sim Quarterly can do so via the website and photographs can be submitted to the region’s Flickr group, which is also hosting a photo contest – details available in-world at the region’s landing zone.