Focus Gallery in Second Life

Focus Magazine Gallery

I recently received a couple of invitations to visit the new Focus Magazine Gallery, one from CybeleMoon, who is their inaugural Featured Artist exhibiting in the main gallery, and also from Angela Thespian, Editor of Focus Magazine.

The main gallery occupies the upper floor of one wing of a multi-purpose building located within a sky platform designed to resemble a city-space. With the use of projected lighting, it is an ideal environment for displaying 2D – and is especially finely suited to CybeleMoon’s (Hana Hoobinoo) marvellous art-as-stories, the bright, modern lines of the gallery with the muted cream tones perfectly compliment the dark tones and depth of light of Cybele’s art.

Focus Magazine Gallery: CybeleMoon

The exhibition accompanies a feature article on Cybele in the June issue of Focus Magazine that makes for excellent reading for those not familiar with Cybele herself, offering rich insight into the influences on her life and art. It goes a long was to explaining why I am a confirmed admirer of Cybele’s work; while her art far outstrips anything I could hope to achieve, we nevertheless share common themes of interest: Celtic mythology, the attraction of certain landscapes: misty glens, high moorland fens, remote tors and the beauty of light caught between the branches of trees; the muse of music – notably Ennio Morricone (perhaps the single most gifted composer of the 20th century), James Newton Howard and Klaus Badlet.

But it is her art, first and foremost that attracts me; the richness of tone, the mixing and balance of light and shade, the symbolism and – most poignantly – the depth of narrative. As such – and as I’ve often said, her art is not to be missed, and at Focus, she presents a broad portfolio of her work that offers a superb introduction for those not familiar with her work, and an engaging  makes a visit more than worthwhile.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Naema

Tucked into a corner across the central area of the platform (which was in a state of flux when I visited, being a green park the first couple of times I dropped in earlier in the week, then sprouting a drive-in movie theatre when I dropped in on Saturday – a sign that this is an evolving setting) is the FAIR gallery – for Focus Artists In Residence programme. Split between two floors, this offers four exhibition spaces which for June feature the art of Naema (mojosb5c), Red Fire (RobinLeia), Tig (tigggg) and Angela herself.

All four present art focused on avatar studies, but the work is so richly various in style and approach that the visitor doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the volume of pieces on offer. These are four artists who individually have a depth of style that is attractive to the eye, and I found it somewhat refreshing to see a gallery featuring male self-portraits as an Artist In Residence exhibit; not that this doesn’t happen – just that it seems at times to be rare.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Red Fire

But I confess it was perhaps Red Fire’s work that most deeply attracted me. Incorporating that subtle balance of light and dark, often carrying a fantasy / fantastical theme, and with that all-important narrative subtext, I found Red’s art utterly captivating.

With strong roots in the arts community through the magazine and it sin-world group – Too Sexy For This Group (TSFTG) -, and with the perspective of using the main gallery space to offer additional focus on their featured artist for each issue, of the magazine, Focus Magazine Gallery promises to make for a fascinating – no pun intended – focus for future visits.

Focus Magazine Gallery: Tig

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Poetical Revolt in Second Life

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

Currently open at Galerie des Machines, curated by Olympe (OLYMPES Rhode), is an immersive, interactive exhibition entitled Poetical Revolt (with a play on “love” in the title), an ensemble installation by Yoon (Onyxxe), along with Mi-Angie (Angie Abraham), Tutsy Navarathna, and ChimKami Resident.

The installation is an interesting concept, taking as its basis a poem by Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891), often regarded as a “revolutionary” French poet known for his influence on modern literature and arts, which prefigured surrealism. The poem in question is Vowels, which linked the vowels of the alphabet with colours: A = black; E = white; I = red; O = green; U = blue, and the thoughts they bring to mind.

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

Here they are used to outline concepts of change, with the artists noting:

Arthur Rimbaud … the man whose poems not only drastically transformed poetry but also opened a new window of understanding for the new world.

Is this not what art is about? Contribute to a change of consciousness! So it is for the poets, musicians, and singers introduced here.

Those singers, artists and musicians comprise Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain, Patti Smith, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Oksana Shachko, and the Sex Pistols, all of whom are considered revolutionary in terms of their music and art.

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

Viewing the installation requires you have the viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled (Preference > Graphics), and should have the time of day set to midnight (or, if you have it available, set your local windlight to Phototools No Light). Locals sounds should also be enabled. Those wishing to more fully immerse themselves can also use the free colour avatars offered at various points in the installation.

The installation is split into a series of rooms representative of the vowels, and each tending to focus on at least one of the named artists. Interactive elements are to be found within them: animations, links to You Tube videos.

Galerie des Machines: Poetical Revolt

However, how this installation might be interpreted is down to individual insight; I confess, I found the potential of a message to be mixed. On the one hand, the introduction speaks of celebrating change, and one of the artists frames the installation as being a “battle” focused on injustice, climate and pollution. However, on the other, I found the reflection of this within the installation  – or choice of figures within it – to be somewhat narrow: Joplin, Smith, Morrison, Cobain, and the Sex Pistols have certainly been influential in shaping modern music and music genres – but instruments of change in matters of injustice, climate and pollution? I’m not entirely convinced.

Nevertheless, there is enough within this installation to catch the eye, so my confusion should not be seen as a reason not to visit it; Poetical Revolt may speak more powerfully to you.

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Xirana’s art at the Lin C Art Gallery

Lin C Art Gallery: Xirana

Now open at the Lin C Art Gallery, curated by Lin Carlucci, is an exhibition of physical world paintings by Xirana (Xirana Oximoxi).

An artist from Catalan, Xirana notes of her art:

My works reflect my concerns and my different moods. They are based on my experiences and express a personal sensitivity nourished by impressions from the external world and my internal world. In this latter sense, I like to call them abstractions or ‘mental landscapes’. The works reflect the influences of impressionism, expressionism, abstract expressionism of artists like Jackson Pollock and the informalism among many others.

Lin C Art Gallery: Xirana

For this exhibition, Xirana demonstrates this breadth of approach by offering pieces that range from landscapes, to impressionist pieces through to the more abstract.

The majority of the latter are located on the ground floor of the gallery. These are very tonal pieces carrying with them a strong geometric form within them, while the lines and colour offer a sense of informalism to which Xirana alludes in her biography.

Lin C Art Gallery: Xirana

The mezzanine level of the gallery contains a range of Xirana’s watercolour landscapes, most of which have a focus on water. Within some there is a hint of abstractionism, whilst one bridges the other six with five pieces that move more towards impressionism in their style, even as they maintain that hint of abstractionism.

Once again, an engaging exhibition presented by Lin that allows us to again share the work of a physical world artist whose work might otherwise remain beyond the reach of many of us.

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Livio’s retrospective at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

Livio Korobase is rightly known and admired for his 3D art installations in Second Life. Sometimes irreverent or with a rich vein of humour and sense of fun, other times thought provoking and challenging – but always fascinating and engaging, Livio’s work never fails to capture the eye and mind.

Given he frequently works on the scale of an entire region, any attempt at offering a look back on his work is going to be something of a challenge; just how do you bring together some much in the way of large-scale work in a space that could often be confined by the limitations of a gallery.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

Yet that is what he has done – and quite appealingly so – thanks to an invitation from Dido Haas, owner and curator of Nitroglobus Roof Gallery. With Post Factum (“after the fact” – or to put it another way, retrospectively) Livio presents a marvellous review of his work that  – in Dido’s own words (borrowed from Monty Python which, given Livio’s aforementioned sense of fun, is not entirely inappropriate) – present and exhibition that is quite “completely different” for Nitroglobus Roof Gallery.

Nitroglobus has always made a clever use of space: the gallery’s halls are high walled, allowing extremely large format images to be exhibited. More than this, however, its walls extend below the transparent floor  level, allowing mirrored copies of images exhibited to be placed “below” them, giving the impression the pictures are being reflected in the polished floors themselves.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

For Post Factum, Livio both continues this approach, placing 2D images of his art both above and below the floors to give the illusions of reflections. But at the same time, he presents different 3D pieces on the main and sub-floors of the gallery.

Not only does this allow for the display of more of Livio’s work than might otherwise be the case without making things crowded, thus making excellent use of the available space. More than this however, the use of the available space cleverly reflects Livio’s ability to challenge our perceptions: paintings and photos “reflected” in the floors – yet those same floors reveal completely different 3D figures below them than those sitting above them.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Livio Korobase

To move between the two levels, visitors are invited to use the teleporter “hole”. Doing so is recommended, given that many of Livio pieces can be interactive so you’re going to want to get close enough to be able to mouse-over / touch them to find out what might happen.

As a retrospective, the exhibition offers pieces from many of Livio’s installations and exhibitions – Black Elk, Eidola, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, Musiclandia, and more. For those of us familiar with Livio’s work, Post Factum therefore offers a fascinating trip down memory lane. For those who might not be so familiar with his work, the exhibition still offers an inviting and immersive introduction.

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Finding Kusama with Cecilia Nansen in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Cecilia Nansen

Finding Kusama is the title of Cecilia Nansen’s latest exhibition, which is currently being hosted by DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source.

I’ve long been an admirer of Cecilia’s photography. She has an evocative, emotive style that offers a rich vein of narrative – but Finding Kusama is something of a departure from Cecilia’s usual approach to her work, as she herself notes.

Kusama came to me with her dots, dots, dots and what I admire so much in art myself; femininity, minimalism, simplicity and clean lines. Meeting her, I knew I had to ‘play with her’ and find my inspiration in her universe. Pop art is not my usual style, but Kusama pulled me in. She made my brain bubble in ideas, like a child with a hundred pastels and a brush.

– Cecilia Nansen on Finding Kusama

DiXmiX Gallery: Cecilia Nansen

The Kusama in question is Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese contemporary artist most noted for her work in sculpture, but is also active in painting, performance, film, fashion, poetry, fiction and other arts. As a conceptual artist, she blends multiple approaches and styles – particularly abstract expressionism – and is regarded as one of the most important and influential artists to emerge from modern Japan.

A particular trademark with Kusama’s work is her use of polka dots, and this is very much reflected within Finding Kusama. Seven of the 12 pieces in this collection offer bright, vibrant pieces rich in the use of polka dots, each with a degree of minimalism Kusama herself would appreciate. There is a wonderful sense of fun about these pieces  – which again, is precisely what Cecilia intends.

The remaining five images in the collection are monochrome, and while continuing the minimalist approach, they are split between those echoing the polka dot theme with its lightness, and some that plumb a deeper, more personal depth for Cecilia, and which reflect a situation she recently passed through.

DiXmiX Gallery: Cecilia Nansen

As both a celebration of Kusama’s art and an exhibition of Cecilia’s own evocative and introspective art, Finding Kusama is not to be missed.

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Love at Artful Expressions in Second Life

Artful Expressions: Kazrakk

Love is the title of the latest exhibition of photography to go on display at Sorcha Sanvean’s (Sorcha Tyles’) boutique-style Artful Expressions Gallery. Featuring the work of Australian photographer Kazrakk,  the exhibition present six engaging pieces that offer insight into the many facets of the love between two people.

Featuring Kazrakk and his SL partner, Ninna, as the subjects in all six images, Love also might be seen as offering a window into their own relationship. There is something very personal about each of the photographs within this selection that embraces tenderness and lover – but which does not, by any measure leave the viewer feeling discomfited by thoughts of being a voyeur; even the images featuring near full-body nudity have a tenderness and grace within them that imbues of a feeling of sharing, rather than that of intrusion.

Artful Expressions: Kazrakk

Presented in both colour and monochrome, there are pieces that perfectly showcase Kazrakk’s ability to frame a moment in time, each picture captivating in both style and in narrative. There is a richness with each piece, whether it is focused solely on the avatars themselves, as three of the pieces are; or whether it offers a broader canvas, where the background plays a role in setting the tone of the narrative (the two here using Norderney and Chochou’s Memento Mori to marvellous effect); or whether it is an expression of pure artistic styling that offers a unique perspective on love and attraction, as seen in the first piece in the series, simply referred to as nr. 1.

Love is a small exhibition, true, but it is also one that leaves you wanting to see more of Kazrakk’s work, and this can be done by visiting his Flickr photostream. Now set within its new mainland home, Artful Expressions once again offers an alluring and engaging exhibit.

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