Alexa’s Art in Second Life

Alexa’s Art Gallery  – Alexa Bouras

In April, I wrote about an exhibition of art featured as the opening exhibit for The Antiquorum Art Gallery within Patch Thibaud’s stunning Hanging Gardens region build. Entitled Landscapes – My Personal View, the exhibition featured the art of long-term Second Life resident Alexa Bouras – although I believe it marked my first full exposure to her work (see Alexa’s personal view of Second Life). I was immediately captivated by Alexa’s work for its reichness of content, style and narrative and noted at the time that I looked forward to seeing more of Alexa’s art.

Well, I’m pleased to say that wish has been granted – for all of us – as Alexa has a new gallery space, one still located within the Hanging Gardens of Babylon region, but occupying its own skybox as provided by the region’s holder, Cristabella Loon. Alexa was kind enough to drop me a line about her new artistic home over the weekend, and as soon as the opportunity arose,  I hopped over to take a look.

Alexa’s Art Gallery  – Alexa Bouras

Offered as a spacious cube with a mezzanine level to one side, the skybox provided to Alexa is of a modern interior design highly suited to her art, with a central water feature on the lower floor and a sweeping, suspended staircase rising above it to reach the mezzanine. This split in floor space allows Alexa to display her work in different formats and sizes, with large pieces displayed along the walls of the more “open” space to the front of the skybox, and smaller more intimately-sized pieces displayed along the walls of the lower floor beneath the mezzanine and around the mezzanine itself.

The art presents a rich mix of styles and subjects, including the Second Life landscapes-processed-as-paintings I found to be so richly evocative with Landscapes back in April 2022, together with pieces which can be regarded as drawings and / or etchings (notably the uttering captivating Anya’s Awakening, which is simply gorgeous), and those which are, by dint of angle, focus and subject, beautifully intimate in their content.

Alexa’s Art Gallery  – Alexa Bouras: Anya’s Awakening

By “intimate” I do not necessarily mean they are avatar studies and / or in any way NSFW;  quite the reverse, in fact. These are pieces focused on what might be regarded as the mundane, the often unnoticed or the everyday, but in a manner which grants them their own unique beauty and story through Alexa’s use of angle, focus, colour and depth of field.

These pieces are most obviously found along the back wall of the mezzanine level, where sit two absolutely delightful pieces captured at Longing Melody (see: Visiting Longing Melody in Second Life) which tell as entire story about the life and work of an artist, together with a third piece from the same region which I guarantee will capture the heart of any piano player (including myself) for the way it captures the story of these majestic instruments.

With their tight focus and unique perspectives, these appear to be part of a further evolution of Alexa’s artistic expressiveness and her growing mastery of a medium which she has come to out of a need to express herself creatively, rather than the application of skills and knowledge initially gained through the physical world. It’s a growth in techniques which I find admirable within a Second Life artist (particularly as my own attempts remain decidedly one-dimensional!), offering as it does new avenues to be explored by both the artist and their audience.

Alexa’s Art Gallery  – Alexa Bouras

Utilising the region’s day / night cycles, with point lights to illuminate the art during the latter (so do make sure you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled via the viewer’s Graphics Preferences!), Alexa’s Art Gallery makes for a genuinely engaging visit, presenting the opportunity to view (and purchase, if you’re so taken) the art of a very visual and engaging Second Life artist.

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Art and a walk in Southern Corsica in Second Life

Corsica Tourist Centre and Tea Garde – start of the CSC Art Trail

A while back, and via Owl Dragonash, I received an invitation to explore (and possibly participate in) the Art Trail at Corsica South Coasters. While I have not directly participated, I did finally manage to get my bum and feet over to Corsica and take a walk along the Art Trail – and enjoyed doing so.

As the name suggests, the Art Trail is an open-air walk along the southern coast of Corsica, winding its way between the Corsica Tourist Centre and Tea Garden and Port Emyniad, with the former noted at the starting point; although there is no reason why trail-walkers can start from the Port and follow the signs backwards – there is no order into how the path is followed and the order in which the art is viewed.

CSC Art Trail, Corsica – just follow the signs!

It’s a route that takes in a number of sights along the south coast of Corsica, including gallery spaces at Port Emynaid and Ceakay Ballyhoo’s gallery (Ceakay is one of those – along with Owl, Catori Mistalker and Bijoux Barr) and others, as well as the trail itself marked both by trailside signs and mounted art from participating artists, either just for exhibition purposes or for sale.

The walk takes about 5-6 minutes when going directly from point-to-point. However, such is the nature of the walk, coupled with the opportunities to witness the art on dispay both along the trail and within the many studio galleries, and well as catching other points of interest along the way.  Doing so can draw a walk out into a very pleasant stroll, with the route itself home to a numbr of teleport station that provide access to additional points of interest within Corsica.

CSC Art Trail – Isle Biedermann and MJ Biedermann (MarjorieBrickard)

The Art Trail is intended to be an “eternal” art display (although pieces and galleries might naturally change over time), and artists from across Second Life are invited to articipate along the trail-side art frames. Artists wishing to have work displayed along the walk can do so by:

  • Select one piece of their art as both a texture an a framed / on cavas piece of part – both to be set to Full permissions.
  • Send the art and texture in a folder to Ceakay Ballyhoo, together with the following:
    • If the art is to be sold – the permissions to be set against the art if it is to be sold & the price at which it is to be offered.
    • A copy of your biography as an artist and / or information on the art you would like to share.
  • Ceakay will then set the art up on one of the available art frames along the trail.
The galleries at Port Emyniad

Any question about the Art Trail should be directed to one of Ceakay Ballyhoo, Bijoux Barr (bijouxbarr) or Catori Mistalker.

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An Art Walk + 3 in Second Life

UASL, September 2022: Roxksie Logan

It was back to the ever-evolving United Artists of Second Life (UASL), the community “for artists … by artists”, for me at the start of the week to catch-up on a couple of art exhibitions there, both of which opened this month: the Art Walk and the respective work of a trio of artists who are being exhibited together at the UASL’s Galerie Principale.

Presented by Michiel Bechir, Art Walk offers the work of Blip Mumfuzz, Elfwym, Georgie Iceghost, Harlow Isabelle Stoop, Jamison, Karly Kas, Mara Telling, Owl Dragonash, Susietea, and Violette Rembrandt (Myra Wildmist is listed on the invite note card, although I didn’t find any of here work along the walk), all of whom present four images apiece located in a open-air lawn sitting between the futuristic building of UASL’s galleries and supporting buildings.

UASL, September 2022: Art Walk

Ranging from landscape images captured within Second Life to animal studies from the physical world, to digital paintings, Art Walk is an easy-on-the-eyes exhibition that brings together a wealth of photographic, painting, and post-processing styles and techniques, with visitors able to wander around the lawn and viewer each artist’s quartets of images at their leisure, with bio givers alongside the works present the chance to learn more about each of the artists.

Occupying three of the floors within UASL’s Galerie Principale are a trio of exhibitions by BijouxBarr (ground floor), Nodome (second floor) and Roxksie Logan (third floor): three very different artists brought together in a trio of exhibits which are individually and collectively engaging to the eye.

UASl, September 2022: BijouxBarr

Within her section, Bijou presents a selection of art in two parts. To one side is a set of landscape paintings. Bright, their colours in places almost over-saturated, these are pieces that breathe life through their colour. Across the hall, are eight images of an altogether different nature – portraits, both human and animal, and fantasy pieces. Containing their own tonal quality that is completely distinct from the landscapes, these are marvellous walks through the imagination.

Nodome is an artist whose work I don’t think I’ve encountered before – more is the pity – as she has much to say, both through her art and in words. These are pieces ranging from the sexual (if not conventionally so), through the abstract to the expressionist. Each has a richness of narrative rippling through it.

UASL, September 2022: Nodome

Roxksie Logan is an artist whose work I’m very familiar with, and whom I’ve always enjoyed for her ability to offer images and installations that challenge perceptions and thinking. Here, on the third level of the gallery she presents the most captivating of digital images (as per the image at the top of this article). Rich in colour, enfolding elements of fantasy, cyberpunk, science-fiction, and with a look and tone that is fanciful, alien and familiar – all by the same measure, these are a tour de force of digital artistry at its finest.

Both Art Walk and the display at Galerie Principle sit as just two among the gathering of galleries and art spaces that being UASL to life. As such, when visiting, do take the time to explore and visit the other exhibitions awaiting discovery – or better yet, take the time to make several visits to explore UASL properly, if you’ve not previously done so.

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Note that Karpov is rated Moderate.

Art and allegories in Second Life

The Vordun: Allegories of Artemisia, September 2022

Recently opened at The Vordun Museum and Gallery, operated and curated by Jake Vordun, is a stunning exhibition of art from the physical world offering a celebration and exploration of the life and work of Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1656) also known as Artemisia Lomi), one of the most accomplished artists of the Baroque period, (c. 1625-1740).

Born in Rome on the 8th July, 1593, the eldest child Prudenzia di Ottaviano Montoni and noted Tuscan artist Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia took up art at an early age, and was producing professional works by the age of fifteen. Like her father, she followed the innovations set by Caravaggio – such as the use of real models – whilst also developing a natural eye for the use of the brush and in the mixing of paint and use of colour to depict the female figure with a naturalism which extended beyond the more idealistic approach of her male peers.

Artemisia Gentileschi: Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting, 1638–39. Via: wikipedia

Initially regarded more out of curiosity than in recognition of her skills – she came to wider public knolwedge as a result of the trial of artist Agostino Tassi, who raped her when she was 18 – by the time she was in her early twenties, she had become the first woman accepted into the  Academy of the Arts of Drawing in Florence.  As her work gained a broader audience, so to did her career flourish through patronage and hard work, her art carrying her from Florence back to Rome, thence to Naples – and even to England and the court of King Charles I.

As well as its depth of realism, her work is notable for its focus on women from myths, allegories, and the Bible, with many featuring herself as one of – if not the – protagonists. Her art eschews the more accepted view of the female form – that of a gentle, sensitive, vulnerable creature – to instead present women as figures of power, strength, and the equal of men.

The exhibition at The Vordun – entitled Allegories of Artemisia – is an extensive look at Artemisia’s work offering one of the most unique gatherings of reproductions of her art to been seen outside of the printed page.  A collaborative display by Jake Vordun (producer), Marina Münter (vivresavie) – curator; Paul Gils (ObertonX) – research assistant; and Cibele Cibernética (profetadigital) – graphics designer, it is a multi-room exhibit made all the more abosrbing by its non-linear approach to Artemisia’s life and art, one which – in the words of those responsible for the exhibition:

[Traces] a parallel between the the characters she depicted in her paintings and her own life, the visitor gets the chance to experience real scale works by her and artists from the same period, given the chance to analyse visually the aspect of her work.

From the introduction of Allegories of Artemisia

The Vordun: Allegories of Artemisia, September 2022: Judith Beheading Holofernes (left: Caravaggio, c.1599; centre: Artemisia Gentileschi, c. 1614-20; right: Artemisia Gentileschi, c.  1612-13)

On accessing the exhibition from the gallery’s main hall, vistors should follow the route through the opening to the right. This takes a route through a series of rooms, starting with a general introduction to Artemisia Gentileschi, followed by a series of self-portraits that help into introduce both the artist and the artistic tradition of a painter focusing on a subject more than once during their career.

From here, further rooms offer reproductions of some of Artemisia’s more noted works drawn from biblical stories (including from deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament), together with reproductions of the same subject by her male contemporaries – thus providing that opportunity to directly compare the work of Artemisia with her contemporaries, and appreciate both the uniqueness of her depiction of female characters and the depth of naturalism found within her work.

Wall text in each room help contextualise the subjects of the paintings and also to provide historical / biographical information (such as on Artemisia herself or her father) where relevant. This set of rooms culminate in a three-part section dealing with the deuterocanonical character of Judith which include both Judith Beheading Holofernes and Judith and Her Maidservant. This in itself is an exquisitely framed and presented series of images – some of them the most famous of the Baroque period – forming an exhibition-within-an-exhibition.

The Vordun: Allegories of Artemisia, September 2022

Beyond these initial rooms lies a large hall that brings together further pairings and small groups of paintings by Artemisia and other artists of her period (one of which includes a piece by one of her few female contemporaries – Elizabetta Sirani), and well as individual pieces by Artemisia. This is bracketed to one side by two further “themed” sub-sections entitled Church Commissions and Mary Magdalene.

Throughout the exhibition there is a wealth of information carefully brought together by the organisers. Each painting is presented with a plaque supplying the title of the piece, the name of the artist, the approximate time in which it was painted, and where it resides today. In  typical Vordun style, these plaques can be clicked to display their information in local chat. Meanwhile, the main hall includes a timeline of Artemisia’s life, defined in terms of the recognised periods of her work as an artist, and the notable events within them, together with a small display of works by other artists and inspired by her work and life.

The Vordun: Allegories of Artemisia, September 2022

Since its inception, the Vordun has presented a series of long-duration, richly immersive exhibitions that seek to replicate the experience gained within a physical world museum, whilst presenting exhibits which either cannot be reproduced in the physical world or, if they do have something of a  physical world analogue, are far more accessible than their counterpart might be. All of this makes The Vordun an engaging visit, and Allegories of Artemisia adds to this enormously.

When visiting The Vordun, do be sure to accept the local experience and specifically for Allegories of Artemisia, make sure your viewer is set to Used Shared Environment.

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Artscape: a cosy community arts venue in Second Life

Artscape Gallery Village, September 2022

Early in August 2022, Chic Aeon dropped me a note concerning a new venture on her part – Artscape Gallery Village, designed to be a small community hub for artists, offering (among other benefits) free gallery spaces to those interested located within an landscaped location and surrounding a central gallery.

Artscape Village is public arena for both established and new artists.   
The village goal is to be a realistic rendition of our corporeal world, and possibly a stepping stone to connections beyond our keyboards. Gallery space is provided free with Pay It Forward quarterly gifts for art lovers. The aim is to enhance visibility for virtual artists as well as act as an introduction to pixelated creativity for those new to Second Life.

– Chic Aeon on Artscape Village

Artscape Gallery Village, September 2022

Located on a Homestead region, Artscape Village is intentionally small, the emphasis being on fostering a community feel to the setting, whilst encouraging artists both new and established within Second Life with a modest space in which to display and sell their work. Some 24 boutique galleries are offered in little blocks of four apiece. Built by Chic herself these have something of an adobe pueblo look took them, and sit as two groups of twelve around three sides of a pair of terraces which in turn bracket the central gallery.

The latter takes the form of the Zujin Modern Estate by Cory Edo, which as Chic explains, helped to push her into developing Artscape Gallery Village:

My inspiration in part was the new build from Cory Edo of Trompe Loeil, a brand who I have been blogging for continuously over the last ten years. It is spectacular and as I was taking photos I couldn’t help envision the modern structure as a gallery. A few days later I went out looking for land and found that a region I had rented before was one of the few homesteads out there. Serendipity and I are good friends.

– Chic Aeon on Artscape Village

Artscape Gallery Village, September 2022 – Main Gallery

The boutique galleries come with 35 LI in which can be used to display art and put out suitable supporting décor. In addition, and for those who may need them, Artscape Village offers group members a choice of unfurnished and furnished skyboxes for those in need of a small home, together with a communal arts sky platform when working.

The unfurnished skyoboxes offer a 50 LI allowance for furnishings, and the furnished versions a 25 LI allowance for additional décor. They are also offered for free, and artists displaying at Artscape should contact Chic if interested in obtaining one.- but again, please note that they are intended for those without a regular home in Second Life.

Artscape Gallery Village, September 2022 – furnished skybox

Applications for gallery spaces – there were a number still available when I visited while writing this piece – can be made via note card; click the Application board at the signage within the gallery’s landing point. The application card includes a series of guidelines and rules for the Village which should obviously be read, and completed cards should be dropped onto the Leave A Notecard board within the same signage as the Application board.

In addition the guidelines / rules set out within the Application note card, there are some additional points of note to be found within the Artscape web pages (both within the Rules page and elsewhere). These include points such as Artscape being reserved for human avatar artists (to enhance the “real life” feel to the setting), and that the skyboxes cannot be used as additional gallery space and the galleries cannot be used as any form of living space. Given this, a look through the web pages is encouraged when thinking of applying.

Artscape Gallery Village, September 2022 – terrace and boutique galleries

As  well as the boutique galleries spaces and skyboxes, benefits in getting involved with Artscape include the opportunity to be a part of a small community of like-minds (at least in terms of art!); being able to display and/or sell your art in an environment which is somewhat optimised for a good experience (one not cluttered with dozens of unique meshes and textures (outside of the art itself!), etc.), and the potential for group activities:

There may be classes in the future. I have experience teaching colour theory and composition along with leading critique groups that aren’t too painful (always start with the positive).

– Chic Aeon on Artscape Village

A unique aspect to the setting is the gallery itself. Rather than being the home to rotating displays of art, forms a central display area in which pieces by group members are displayed, together with a name board of the artist. Clicking the latter will open the World Map and allow you to teleport to their little gallery. At the time of my visit, the upper levels of the gallery were given over to communal social spaces, offering further opportunities for artists and visitors to mingle.

Artscape Gallery Village, September 2022 – gallery discussion room

With 3D sculptures from Chic’s personal collection occupying some of the garden space, Artscape Gallery Village is an engaging and (given Chic is covering the tier cost) generous idea for helping foster arts and arts communities in SL, and is well worth a visit whether you are an artist or a patron of art in Second Life.

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Landscapes and Shadows in Second Life

Michiel Bechir Gallery, September 2022 – Vanessa Jane

Currently on display at the Michiel Bechir Gallery – itself sporting a new frontage, décor and outdoor events area – are three exhibitions by well-established Second Life photographers, which between them offer a set of contrasts that make for an interesting trio of displays.

On the ground level of the gallery, and bracketing the main foyer are exhibits by Vanessa Jane (VanessaJane66) and Raisa Reimse (RaisaReimse). Both are known and highly regarded for their SL landscape photography and capable hands with post-processing, and while both focus on landscape pieces within there respective halls, both have contrasting styles which also compliment one another.

Michiel Bechir Gallery, September 2022 – Vanessa Jane

Within her display, Vanessa Jane offers 15 pieces, many of which offer broad, almost panoramic views of settings within Second Life, re-touched to offer views that contain a degree of romance and / or offer present the richness of the location in a single frame.

Architecture also sits as a focus with several of these pieces, with Vanessa ably demonstrating her ability to bring the character of a building or structure to life, and to wrap a narrative around her images. Capped by three images which are largely black-and-white, this is and engaging selection of art.

Michiel Bechir Gallery, September 2022 – Raisa Reimse

By contrast and across the foyer, Raisa Reimse presents a selection of 14 pieces which carry with them a rich sense of painting in the style of the great landscape artists. In part, this sense is due to both the ratio of the images themselves and their framing – but which is mostly imbued through Raisa’s rich use of colour, which offers a depth to these pieces that is genuinely captivating.

These are pieces that also carry a sense of life and motion whilst also demonstrating that Raisa understands the effective use of depth of field and angle to present a unique image / story. In these latter points I’d particularly point to Dream of Fall, with its suggestion of capturing a diorama, and In Flight, which so richly conveys the motion of the Debonair aircraft and the solitary joy that can be found in flying.

Michiel Bechir Gallery, September 2022 – Raisa Reimse

Within the upper level hall, Scylla Rhiadra brings a selection of her evocative images together under the theme of Shadow.

The use of light and dark and how they play across surfaces and figures has long been a feature of Scylla’s work; more than a feature, really, and they tend to be central to her work and how she presents themes and ideas. This is a point she acknowledges for herself in the poetic introduction to this display:

No mystery compelling as that obscured by dark.
No beauty so heart-rending as that which lies bathed in shade.
No nakedness is more exposed than that which is clothed in garments of night.
No demons so seductive as those concealed by gloom. 
Shadow is the shape of our desire.
Michiel Bechir Gallery, September 2022 – Scylla Rhiadra

Another aspect of Scylla’s work is that of subtext; it is perhaps as important to her compositions as the contrast between light and shadow. This subtext, so often suggested through subtle placement of props as much by pose or focus or angle, gives each piece Scylla produces its fullest depth of expression and narrative. Within this series of images, this is perhaps most clearly seen within Sale, but it is also waiting to be found in each piece by those who take the time to look.

Three richly engaging artists in their own right, in being brought together by Michel within the one gallery, Scylla, Raisa and Vanessa here present a compelling trio of exhibits.

Michiel Bechir Gallery, September 2022 – Scylla Rhiadra

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