Magdha’s Sole Fragments in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Maghda: Sole Fragments

For February 2023, Dido Haas presents Sole Fragments, a themed exhibition of monochrome photography by Maghda, at her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery.

Like Dido, I first encountered Maghda’s work some 8 years ago, but in my case, it was at another shared exhibition hosted at the now-closed DaphneArts Gallery. Also like Dido, I also lost track of Maghda, and had no idea that she had departed Second Life for a time, and only returned in-world in 2022.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Maghda: Sole Fragments

With a focus on avatar studies, often featuring herself as the model and often presented in greyscale or monochrome, Maghda has a talent for pieces that offer single-frame stories, often with an element of introspection or personal discovery.

This is very much the case with Sole Fragments, a title which can be taken both literally – these are pieces offered from a sole perspective – and as something of a double play on words: the images represent a journey – a walk, if you will – through her Second Life and times; and walks are things we undertake on the soles of our feet. At the same time these images are reflections of Maghda’s soul.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Maghda: Sole Fragments

As Maghda herself notes, this is a collection depicting the highs and lows and triumphs and struggles endured; moments of growth and of emotional release. Each image is deeply candid, deeply atmospheric and powerfully resonant – made all the more so through the use of monochrome and greyscale.

Each of the twelve images in the collection is a step on Maghda’s journey, allowing us to share in moments of love, loss, escape, freedom, and self-expression. The order in which we follow the steps in this journey is unimportant; it is the time we take to experience each, both in terms of the story it presents across the entire canvas and the emotional self-expression by the artist – and in allowing that expression and story resonate within us.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Maghda: Sole Fragments

Given theses pieces are offered by the artist as a means of connecting within the emotions they contain and as a window into into her soul, it is really not my place to overlay them or the exhibition with my own subjective interpretations of specific images. What I will say is that this is a softly powerful collection of images, and I have no hesitation in recommending it as a must-see exhibition.

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Erotic Art in Second Life

Heartsong Erotica Galleries
Note: as the title of this piece – and the gallery – should reveal, the art on display at Heartsong Erotica Galleries is of an erotica / adult nature, in places featuring nudity. As such, the images at the gallery and in this article should be treated as NSFW. 

Heartsong Erotica Galleries is a venture new to me, and which I believe has only recently opened. Operated by Luanamae Heartsong, it is located on a sky platform and offers four gallery spaces built around an open square displaying 3D art, all of which is defined by the description four galleries dedicated to elegant and sensual erotic art.

Heartsong Erotica Galleries: Kitten (Joaannna Resident)

Erotica in art is not new, and certainly not exclusive to Second Life; however, it is a subject which can draw looks of distaste among some and / or be considered antithetical to Second Life. Yet while the terms “erotica” and “erotic” are most commonly used to define subject matter intended to be found sexually stimulating, it doesn’t necessarily mean either nudity or sexual acts. Just take John William Godward’s The Old, Old, Story (1903) as an example; both characters within it are fully clothed, but the manner in which the woman teases the man through the simple act of dropping flower petals as she regards him was, for the time at which it was painted, charged with eroticism.

And herein lies another truth; as  Honoré de Balzac once noted: eroticism is dependent not just upon an individual’s sexual morality, but also the culture and time in which an individual resides; as such it is not only – as the hoary old quote about beauty goes – in the eye of the beholder, it is also fluid and changing with time.  And it is this latter point which is ably demonstrated within the collections of images offered at Hertsong Erotica Galleries for the current (as of late January 2023) exhibition.

Heartsong Erotica Galleries: Tatiana Easterwood

Within the four galleries are collections by Dante Helios (Gallery One), Tatiana Easterwood (Gallery Two), Emeline Laks (Gallery Three) and Kitten (Joaannna Resident). (Gallery 4). Each offers a different perspective on erotica in art (although there are some overlaps here and there – notably between the images presented by Tatiana Easterwood and Emeline Laks).

Within Kitten’s pieces (some of which have been previously offered through her 2022 Noir exhibition within the Annex of Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (see: A Kitten’s Noir world in Second Life), there is neither nudity nor overt sexuality. What there is, however, is a subtle shading of sensuality imparted in several ways: the classic noir style within several of the images through their use of greyscale to evoke a cinematic era where eroticism and sensuality were more more obliquely referenced (ibncluding through the use of smoking, something also seen in these images); the suggestions of vulnerability through pose and the use of a veil, etc. Thus, within these pieces is a sense of erotica of times past.

Heartsong Erotica Galleries: Dante Helios

Tatiana and Emeline, by contrast, offer what might be considered “erotica of times present”, many of their pieces offering as they do sensual depictions of sexual acts between adult avatars (not that art depicting sexual acts ins confined to modern times – by which I loosely mean post WW II onwards; rather that the public exhibiting of art depicting sexual acts is more broadly tolerated in the west than had been the case during the early 20th century and before).

Within Gallery One, Dante presents images which (for the most part) might be said to reflect another lasting element of erotica: the fetish of clothing and footwear, particularly when applied to the female form. However, it is also perhaps the more discomforting of the four exhibitions, given the manner in which some of the pieces in the left and centre sections of the gallery might be seen as leaning into themes of puberty and sexuality; in this, I admit to finding these latter images personally disquieting.

Heartsong Erotica Galleries: Emeline Laks

Overall, with the exhibits rounded-out by 3D pieces produced by Pit Banx and Phenix Rexen within the square linking the four galleries, Heartsong Erotica Galleries is an interesting new venture for the display of art of a more erotic nature within Second Life.

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JadeYu’s A Kind Of in Second Life

Artcare Gallery, January 2023 – JadeYu Fhang, Une Sorte De…

Currently open at Artcare Gallery, the art hub curated and operated by Carelyna, is Une Sorte De… – “A Kind Of…”, by JadeYu Fhang.

JadeYu has a reputation for being one of the most visually evocative artists in Second Life, and her installations often plumb the depths of the human consciousness and psyche (examples: Roots and War, Everywhere and Nowhere and OpeRaAxiEty). She is also perhaps best known for her 3D installations (such as those mentioned above, offering deeply evocative, layered and expressive pieces – which can also be enigmatic when JadeYu sways in that direction. However, she is also a 2D artist, as Une Sorte De… reminds us.

Artcare Gallery, January 2023 – JadeYu Fhang, Une Sorte De…

Provided within a futuristic display space also designed by JadeYu, the exhibition opened on January 19th, 2023, and is presented sans any artist’s notes. However the 18 pieces presented – a mix of colour and greyscale images – combined with the exhibition’s title suggests these are images intended to convey a feeling and / or emotion or a sense of mood.

From the pictorial to the abstract by way of real and faux 3D elements, these are all highly individual works, exhibiting and intensity of image and form that deserve individual interpretation. As such, this is another exhibition for which I’m again not going to overlay with my personal reflections or reactions – I’d rather JadeYu’s work speak directly to you, and so encourage you to pay a visit to Une Sorte De… for yourself.

Artcare Gallery, January 2023 – JadeYu Fhang, Une Sorte De…

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Banagher’s Whispering Sky in Second Life

Starborn Gallery, January 2023: Banagher Crisp – Whispering Sky

Whispering Sky is the title Banagher Crisp has selected for an exhibition of his Second Life photography, currently being hosted by Lizbeth Morningstar in the guest artist of her Starborn Gallery.

This is a selection of predominantly greyscale images with a focus on avatar studies, although they are interspersed with colour images and landscapes spread across the two levels of the hall. They are both evocative and personal pieces, each one focused to evoke a specific instant in time, intended to project an emotion and / or idea, as Banagher explains within his introduction to the exhibition:

We all remember certain moments in our lives where they makes us feel happy, sad, angry, grateful, or loved. My work focuses on “moments” a paused second in a certain place that reflects many different feelings. Each person sees that moment differently and that is what I find fascinating.

– Banagher Crisp

Starborn Gallery, January 2023: Banagher Crisp – Whispering Sky

Given this, these are all pieces that contain a richness of narrative that is quite extraordinary – made more so by the fact that Banagher has left each one untitled so as not to impose his thoughts or ideas onto our encounter with each image. Given this, I’m loathe to offer my own thoughts on individual pieces in this selection for the same reason; these are works that deserve to be seen fresh and unburdened by the interpretations of an intermediary.

What I will say is that the way they individually convey their emotional content: passion, regret, love, loneliness, joy, solitude, contemplation, honour, and more; is captivating, making each piece an image the eyes are drawn back to again and again. Even those without an avatar within them richly evocative in focus, colour (or tone) and content they naturally draw out an emotional response in which feelings and thought bubble.

This is, I believe, my first encounter with Banagher’s work; I’m not sure how long he has been producing pieces in-world, although I note his Flickr stream is no more than two years old – which might indicate the obsession which started as a hobby (to reverse Banagher’s own words) is recent. Be that as it may, both Whispering Sky and his Flickr speak to a depth of artistry I very much hope I will be expressed at more exhibitions in the future.

Starborn Gallery, January 2023: Banagher Crisp – Whispering Sky

Also, when visiting Whispering Sky, do be sure to step into the second hall within the gallery, where the latest exhibition of Lisbeth’s own work, How Many Faces Do We Have? can be appreciated.

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The many aspects of Jules Farigoule in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, January 2023: JuleJules Farigoule – The Farigoule Collection

Opening on Monday, January 16th, 2023 in the Annex at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is The Farigoule Collection, a series of images and settings by Jules Farigoule which – as always for Nitroglobus – offers a fascinating take on the art and expressionism of the artist involved.

The easiest way to introduce the collection is to use Dido’s own words:

A while ago when meeting with Jules in his loft, which is really a superb tastefully made place, I asked him if he was willing to exhibit his awesome art collection at Nitroglobus.  At first he hesitated and told me he was neither an artist nor was this a ‘collection’, just images which he likes to have around him; a very subjective and personal selection. .. a set of images, gathered from meetings, friendships and by chance, from the serendipity of Jules’s long Second Life.

Dido Haas

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, January 2023: JuleJules Farigoule – The Farigoule Collection

Now, on the surface, this may not sound so unusual – serendipity often plays a role in art, be in painting, drawing or photography, and in Second Life, photographs tend to focus on our personal moods or on the friends we make, the people we encounter and the sights we come across in our explorations. So what makes this collection so special?

Simply because, while it may not have any intentional theme or narrative thread, it is nevertheless something of a story about Jules – who hails from France – and his self-expression both in the physical world and within Second Life.

Some of the latter is expressed through the two settings occupying the floorspace of the Annex, and which offer a glimpse into Jules’ loft home in-world. Their simplicity of form and minimalism, coupled with the placing of the art on their walls and the sculptures, speak to a mind and eye driven by thoughts of beauty and balance, and something of a reverence for the female body – as well as the simple joy of taking photos.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, January 2023: JuleJules Farigoule – The Farigoule Collection

More broadly – and intimately – the exhibition as a whole offers insight into the dual nature of Jules’ time in Second Life, where both a male and a female avatar – Gaia Republic – are used (with Jules now being the primary and Gaia – although older – the “Alt”). The images from Second Life – outside of those Jules has on display within the “loft” sets which originate with other artists (including Dido herself) – come from both the persona of Jules and that of Gaia, and examining the differences in style, tone and subject between the two.

Most of the images by Jules, meanwhile present fair more structured results in which the more technical aspects of each – style, focus, presentation, cropping and production. Thus, there is perhaps a femininity reflective of Gaia that naturally comes to the fore within Mes copines, whilst Jules’ piece might be seen as leaning towards a more “masculine” expressionism.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, January 2023: JuleJules Farigoule – The Farigoule Collection

It’s subjective to be sure, and also subjective, given the technical skills required to produce Mes copines are as great as those seen within, say, ExMachina 04. More importantly, the contrasts speak to a person as ease within the skins of both Jules and Gaia, and makes for a delight layer of observation when viewing these pieces.

Mixed with the Second Life images are several which appear to have been brought into SL from the physical world, and these again offer insight into Jules’ outlook as an artist and the richness of his imagination.

Yet another engaging exhibition from Nitroglobus – and full kudos to Dido for persuading Jules to display his work, and to Jules for doing so.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, January 2023: JuleJules Farigoule – The Farigoule Collection

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Caly’s Crowns in Second Life

NovaOwl Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Crowns

Headgear has long played is significant role within societies around the world, particularly in terms of denoting spirituality or royalty. This is potentially for two reasons. The first is that, as the highest point on the human body, the head is the best point from which to indicate authority, and so elaborate or distinctive headgear the best means to signal said authority. The second is that, being the part of the body with the proximity to the heavens, and thus potentially the first point of contact with the divine or spirits descending from on high, the top of the head is considered, and thus should be covered as a sign of modesty and deference.

More widely, hats, headwear, traditional headdress, and so on, having long been a means of expression throughout societies and communities the world over. They can indicate everything from broader religious adherence to social status / profession, societal adherence (it is not that long ago that in many western societies it was considered uncouth for anyone of educated means – male or female – to appear in public without a hat, and one only has to travel back a little further to reach a time when women were expect to wear a hat, indoors and out), or basic social status. In this, just think of the worker’s flat cap, the British bowler, the Stetson, the fedora, the fez, and allow they evoke.

Some of these ideas are explored within the January / February 2023 art exhibition occupying at the ground level gallery at NovaOwl Gallery, curated and operated by ULi Jansma, Ceakay Ballyhoo & Owl Dragonash, featuring as it does the work of Caly Applewhyte.

NovaOwl Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Crowns

Self-taught with Photoshop, Caly entered Second Life in 2010 with – as she describes it herself – “no specific goal”, but while exploring the grid, she found an outlet in Second Life photography. As her interest grew, so did a parallel interest in both her own avatar and the ability to use this virtual domain as a means to explore emotions, feelings and ideas, generally through the use of minimalist settings intended to bring the intended focus, the essential theme and emotion, of each piece to the fore.

Within Crowns, Caly offers a series of beautifully minimalist set of pictures exploring the expressive nature of headdress, particularly in terms of spirituality (although there is also a hint of royalty about them as well).  Each is highly individual in both form and the style of headdress, one to the next, yet all carry within them core recognition of the implied authority, faith and prowess of the wearer. Not, note that the wearer is necessarily gifted with these abilities – just that their headdress encourages us to view them as such.

In keeping with much of Caly’s work, Crowns does not require a lot to be written about it – each piece clearly and evocatively speaks for itself, with all of them collectively offering a narrative which is easy to follow. As such, I recommend Crowns should be viewed rather than written about – and I’ll leave you with the SLurl once more to allow you to do so.

NovaOwl Gallery: Caly Applewhyte – Crowns

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