Tales of a Winter Sun in Second Life

Paris Metro Art Gallery: CybeleMoon – Tales of a Winter Sun

CybeleMoon (Hana Hoobinoo) is without doubt one of the most expressive fantasy artists in Second Life. Her art has a unique beauty that I consider to be unsurpassed in its depth and narrative; pieces that are hauntingly fascinating, encapsulating worlds of wonder and mystery or reflecting wonderment and innocence through portrait and study.

You can witness for yourself just how evocative and engaging her art is by visiting Tales of A Winter Sun, which officially opens at 12:00 noon SLT on Saturday, December 14th, 2018  at the Paris Metro Art Gallery. I was able to visit the exhibition ahead of the opening, and it truly is a delight.

Tales of a Winter Sun is actually something of a three-part exhibition. There is Cybele’s art, 20 images and a central mural type display; then there is a poem by Cybele, reflective of the art and of the season (available by clicking the information board at the lading point), and also a blog post she provides on her website.

Paris Metro Art Gallery: CybeleMoon – Tales of a Winter Sun

There is a time in the hushed solitudes of falling winter,
while the dreaming earth stirs softly beneath her frosted blanket,
where for a moment, we remember innocence and magic, and the incredible awe of being,
where hope is renewed in the lighting of candles and a star leads the way to Bethlehem,
Where grievances are put aside as we open our wounded hearts to receive the seeds of rebirth
Where my own dreams flow to the sacred music of haunted woodlands and enchanted children.
and old tales are retold with feasting and friends
where the lost are found and the poor are blessed
and where angels walk among us

– CybeleMoon

Reflective of the theme and the season, the 20 images offer us 20 twenty stories – some quite literally so, should you touch them – each beautifully encapsulated in a single moment.

Paris Metro Art Gallery: CybeleMoon – Tales of a Winter Sun

It is this feeling of capturing a moment that is particularly attractive about Cybele’s work. Her pieces are incredibly intricate in form and construction, the balance of light, colour, focus and theme utterly sublime; where looking at her art, I cannot help but see them in terms of an orchestra, different elements and layers, skilfully woven into a whole under the guiding hands of the conductor – or in this case the artist.

Yet, at the same time, there is a marvellous sense that each piece, far from being composed, has been captured in a fleeing moment, as if the mind has taken a snapshot of a dream or the eye a single moment of time played out before us in a world where wonder, innocence and beauty define all we see, and perhaps say and do.

Some might accuse me of waxing lyrical or of using hyperbole in writing like this – but unless you’ve seen Cybele’s work first-hand, it is hard to grasp just how rich, resonant and alive her art really is. As such, I urge you to go and witness Tales of a Winter Sun for yourself – you will not be disappointed.

In the meantime, and as she references it in her own blog post, I’ll leave you with an astonishing rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah by Rhema Marvanne, and recorded when she was just eight years old, and which sits as a perfect companion to the art Cybele presents in both the exhibition and her blog post.

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December 2018 at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Lam Erin

Now open at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a new ensemble art exhibition, one which offers a rich mix of virtual and physical art and photography in what is an eclectic but engaging display. On offer are pieces by  Lam Erin, Renoir Adder, Bump Squeegee, Layachi Ihnen, Chapichapo Delvalle and the inimitable Moya Patrick (Moya Janus).

For those unfamiliar with Moya (Patrick Moya in the physical world), he has been a part of the artistic movement Ecole de Nice, and throughout his career has been as the forefront of artistic expression through all forms of media and technology, including virtual spaces. He is an early pioneer of video art, and was quickly drawn to the potential of virtual spaces like Second Life, in which he has been involved since 2007 and where he continues to maintain his Moya estate of four regions. He was also one of the first artists to actively promote Second Life in the physical world, with Rinascimento Virtuale, hosted by the museum of Anthropology of Florence, in 2009.

La Maison d’Aneli: Moya Patrick

Entitled Carnaval et fêtes populaires (literally “Carnival and popular festivals”, but given the English title “Carnival and popular traditions” in English), it is a typical piece from Moya, full of vitality, reflecting elements of his physical world art. Within it is – as one would expect – his alter-ego of Moya, familiar by his Pinocchio-like nose, and little Dolly, inspired by the cloned sheep of the same name. Frivolous, engaging, with some subtle motifs, Carnaval et fêtes populaires is a colourful piece, well in keeping with the time of the year.

Below it, on the lower floor of the gallery are three exhibition spaces presenting the physical world art of three very different artists: Renoir Adder, Layachi Ihnen and Bump Squeegee.

La Maison d’Aneli: Renoir Adder

I confess to being unfamiliar with Layachi’s art, which is offered here as the largest of the three displays. A profession of mathematics, Layachi started painting in 1969, and since 1999 has focused on mixed media, combining digital painting on computer with traditional techniques. For this exhibition, he presents pieces that reflect this mixing – notes the faces in many of the paintings -, all offered in a unique and distinctive style.

As an artist, Renoir Adder straddles genres. Within his pieces can be found elements of post-impressionism, potentially influenced by the like of Van Gogh; suggestions of Picasso; and impressionist leanings.

La Maison d’Aneli: Renoir Adder

Much of this is in evidence in the 15 pieces displayed at La Maison d’Aneli, in the midst of which are, to my eyes, three absorbing painting of Geishas which exhibit a unique and eye-catching style that focuses the attention marvellously, encouraging the observer to work outwards from them and take in the rest of the paintings in turn.

Bump Squeegee’s collage art is, for those familiar with it, instantly recognisable. Rich in colour and style, the dozen pieces here are a marvellous selection of Bump’s work. By their very nature, these are pieces for which description is meaningless; they deserve to be seen first-hand in order to appreciate them fully.

La Maison d’Aneli: Layachi Ihnen

Back on the upper level of the gallery is a selection of physical world photography by Chapichapo Delvalle. Another artists with whom I was unfamiliar, Chapichao’s work focuses on nature and natural settings, varying from full landscape pieces to focusing down to things like a small branch of pine cones set on the stonework of a footpath, offered as a series of studies in colour and style.

Colour is a major element in these images, and might be said to be a physical reflection of Chapichao’s vibrant view of Second Life.

La Maison d’Aneli: Lam Erin

Lam Erin, in providing full disclosure, is one of my favourite Second Life landscape artists, although I only discovered his work less than two years ago. As a virtual artist, Lam takes images captured within Second Life and transforms them into the most fantastic digital works of art, so rich in detail, you feel as if you can see the individual brush strokes in an original piece of art.

One of the hallmarks of Lam’s work is his presentation of cloudscapes. These cast a dramatic, even foreboding, look to the skies of his art that brings an added depth of realism and narrative to his paintings that is utterly remarkable. It is this attention to his clouds and skies that also makes his art redolent of some of the great masters of landscape painting.

As always from Aneli  and La Maison d’Aneli, an engaging exhibition of works by talented artists, and not one to be missed.

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Megan Prumier at DiXmiX

DiXmiX Gallery: Kimeu Korg

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: Kimeu Korg

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: Kimeu Korg

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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La Robbiani and Wintergeist at Club LA and Gallery

Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani

Now open at Club LA and Gallery, curated by Fuyuko ‘冬子’ Amano (Wintergeist), are two small exhibitions by Eviana (eviana Robbiani) – under the name La Robbinani – and Wintergeist herself.

For her exhibition, La Robbiani uses the theme of Shoshin (初心) – the idea of separating yourself from all preconceptions when studying a subject -, and of being open to all ideas in an attempt to avoid becoming trapped in a closed loop of thinking and missing everything a lesson my have to teach us.

It’s a concept that has its basis in Zen Buddhism and Japanese martial arts – although it can be applied to almost any subject. For her exhibition, La Robbiani uses it to encourage the observer to come to each of the six images she displays with fresh eyes and to avoid any preconceptions about their nature clouding our ability to see them as they are.

Club LA and Gallery: La Robbiani

This actually makes reviewing this exhibition, beautifully presented within and Oriental structure (perhaps more Chinese than Japanese), a little hard: anything I say here is liable to result n readers visiting the exhibit to enter it with at least some preconception. But – that’s why it is important to keep the idea of Shoshin at the forefront of any thoughts about the exhibition on entering.

What I will say is that each of the six studies are beautifully presented, each with its own theme – but again more Chinese in nature that Japanese. A couple of them should perhaps be considered as NSFW as they contain a degree of nudity, but all six should be considered both individually and in the context of its title.

Club LA and Gallery: Wintergeist

Also located on the ground floor of the gallery is Wintergeist’s own exhibition.

Comprising twelve images, both easels and wall mounted,  this is an exhibition that demonstrates the full beauty of her work; they cover landscape images and avatar studies presented in both colour and black and white. Some have admittedly been previously exhibited, but this doesn’t lessen the fact that all of them speak to the art and craft of a gifted photographer and artist.

Taken with the exhibition by oYo (Oyona), which continues on the gallery’s mezzanine level (and which you can read about here), these make for a further engaging visit to Club LA and Gallery.

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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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A November ensemble at La Maison d’Aneli

La Maison d’Aneli: Cybele Moon

Currently open at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante, is a new ensemble art exhibition featuring 2D artists Cybele Moon (Hana Hoobinoo), Violaine (Anadonne) and Barret Darkfold, together with 3D artists Nevereux and Rikku Yalin. This is an eclectic mix of artists, resulting in a diverse set of exhibitions, reached by taking the teleport from the gallery’s ground level lobby area.

Cybele Moon’s art should need no introduction; she is a doyenne of fantasy art / photography in Second Life, producing marvellous images that are richly ethereal, fabulously produced and each rich in its own story.  Her art within Second Life is very a reflection of her photography in the physical world, where she captures landscapes – sometimes using an infra-red camera – and produces mythical scenes of extraordinary depth and life.

La Maison d’Aneli: Cybele Moon

Many of the pieces she displays in-world combine the physical and virtual worlds to create wonderfully layered pictures which offer not so much a windows into narrative, but doorways into entire realms; stories often captured in words and pictures on her website, Cybele Shine. She says of her work, “I’m a time traveller who loves exploring old stones and tomes and forest groves. My dreams are filled with enchanted children and haunted woodlands,” and this is perfectly reflected in the selection of images she is displaying a La Maison d’Aneli.

On the lower floor of the gallery are exhibitions of physical world art by Violaine and Barret, two artists I’ve not encountered before, but each with a distinctive style.

La Maison d’Aneli: Violaine

Violaine presents a mix of art and photograph (some of which touches on NSFW) grouped in deliberate sets of four, from abstracts (as with the set entitled Instants), through to deeply intimate moments (as captured within the set entitled Neighbours). Each set has its own unique attraction, be it a recollection of Warhol through Angelina, or an echo of L.S. Lowry seen in Houses.

Barret’s work is wholly abstract, featuring pieces of swirling  motion or carrying hints of linear geometry. The majority are presented a warm colours: yellow and orange with a hint of red in places, or with earthly browns and greens, although some are more earthen in colour, encompassing paler shades and tans. All hold a common bond, one with another, something than gives this exhibition an almost narrative flow as the eye pass from one images to the next and from upper row to lower.

La Maison d’Aneli: Barret Darkfold

For her 3D installation, Nevereux presents Assembly Line, a piece that places the visitor inside a 3D drawing, asking a series of pointed questions as it does so. These questions, asked within a blank verse statement, encompass the nature of identity and the content of life. The art within the piece serves as an illustration of life: two-dimensional aspects: a house, a street a place of work, a children’s playground, rendered as 3D (our digital life of 0s and 1s referenced in the blank verse) by the movement, of a pencil across white surfaces (“what if we’re analogue?”).

It’s a curious piece, a little difficult to grasp, but also – perhaps – with a touch of self-effacing humour (“You can align yourself to me instructions … or you can use binoculars + an aspirin and go explore”).

La Maison d’Aneli: Nevereux

Rikku Yalin offers another curio of an installation, largely focused on 3D pieces of a decidedly mechanical bent – including a giant robot, a mechanical cat, smaller robots – all gathered around wooden couple standing as ringmaster and wife. 2D art on the walls in part continue the mechanical theme.

However, for me, the most striking piece, for all the quirkiness of the rest, is a stunning portrait of the late actor Charles Bronson. It’s a stunning piece which, aside from the moustache, could have been painted while he was on the set of Sergio Leone’s celebrated western, Once Upon A Time in the West.

La Maison d’Aneli: Rikku Yalin

Five very different displays offering five unique perspectives of art and narrative, all of which add up to one intriguing exhibition.

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