Therese Carfagno at Ani’s Gallery in Second Life

Ani’s Gallery: Therese Carfagno

Currently open on the upper floor of Ani’s Gallery is an untitled exhibition by Therese Carfagno that offers a intriguing mix of images and styles, and which runs through until early February.

I say “intriguing” because the art on offer spans everything from SL-focused photography – landscapes and those with something of an avatar-focus – to more sensual pieces that appear routed in the physical world, to more abstracted pieces mindful of Jackson Pollack and pieces that carry a strong surrealist element. All of which makes this a creatively diverse exhibition well worth taking the time to witness, one that also includes a hint of Second Life history.

Ani’s Gallery: Therese Carfagno

The latter is most noticeable in Sunrise, Midday, Sunset, Midnight, a four-panel image on the left wall of the the gallery space, relative to the top of the stairs. The four images in the piece show AM Radio’s The Far Away, now co-curated by Ziki Questi and Kinn Kinnaird, all of which appear to include AM himself (at least going by the top hat) as one of the two figures standing in the wheat field.

A further reminder of AM Radio can be found within the poster facing the top of the stairs, featuring as it does AM’s Mary Poppins outfit. Next to this are two pieces, Sita 1 and Sita 2 that are richly surreal in their presentation of their subject.

Ani’s Gallery: Therese Carfagno

The more sensual pieces appear to mix both physical world and SL studies that offer nudity without crossing the line into outright NSFW. Two sets of of abstract pieces are to be found, both amidst the more sensual pieces – nicely breaking them up – and with the SL-centric images. Three are predominantly monochrome in nature, three in colour. Together they form two sets that re almost triptych in nature, the images in each set following neatly from one to the next.

I’ve not previously witnessed Therese’s art prior to this exhibition, but on the strength of it, I will be looking out for more exhibition of her work.

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The Phoenix Artists Collaboration in Second Life

The Phoenix Artists Collaboration: Vroum Short

Officially opening on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020, is a new ensemble exhibition at The Phoenix Artists Collaboration (PAC), featuring individual art displays by some 42 artists – making it quite the stop for any lovers of art from both the physical world and the virtual, with the exhibition area offering additional spaces for exhibitions and events.

We share a simple dream and goal, to support and display artists work, so they may flourish and encourage others to do the same, Along this path we hope to make life long friends that form a collaboration to support each other and encourage us all to be the best we can.

– from the Phoenix Artists Collaboration group description

The Phoenix Artists Collaboration: Flamered

Those participating in the exhibition are: Dhyzel, Flamered, Giselleseeker, Lampithaler, Lyric, PatrickofIreland, Ragingbellls, ViktorSavior, Akim Alonzo, Tara Aers, Michiel Bechir, Klaus Bereznyak, Sisi Biedermann, Sheba Blitz, Zia Branner, Ilyra Chardin, Rage Darkstone, Slatan Dryke, Sophie Dunn, Elin Egoyan, Anders Franizzi, Eta Goldsmith, Pearl Grey, Layachi Ihnen, Mcpol Kamachi, Moora McMillan, Mistero Hifeng, Kayly Ilali, Moya Janus, Anibrm Jung (PAC curator), Silas Merlin, JolieElle Parfort, Melusina Parkin, Tom Prospero, Vroum Short, Ambre Singh, Sisi Singh, Tim Timaru, Maloe Vansant, Talullah Winterwolf, Cullum Writer, and yours truly.

The artists have all either been allocated space on the upper floor of the Concourse landing point, or in one of the surrounding suites. The latter are arranged in a 2-level square to provide a total of 36 gallery spaces, some of which are shared between two artists.

Phoenix Artists Collaboration: Mistero Hifeng

To facilitate easier location of individual artists, the lower floor of the Concourse building includes teleport portraits of all the artists displaying their work; just touch one to go to their gallery suite. Casual browsing of the individual suites can be achieved by stepping outside and wandering the streets (the upper and lower levels of which are connected via a spiral stairway in the south-east corner of the square) and dropping into any that catch your eye.

Given the number of artists participating in the exhibition, the breadth of art on offer is as broad as it can possibly get: Second Life landscapes, physical world art (mandalas, abstracts, digital media, paintings, drawings), themed avatar studies, Second Life vehicles, 3D pieces, reflections on SL art installations, images and words, and more.

Phoenix Artists Collaboration: Cullum Writer

Many of the pieces displayed are offered for sale, presenting an excellent opportunity for adding to collections, while (again) the number of artists exhibiting means there are opportunities to catch up with some well-known names and perhaps discover the work of some you may not have previously come across.

When visiting PAC, note that the teleport mat at the landing point provides access to further PAC spaces, not all of which may be in use at a given time (such as the events area). Chief among these is the PAC 3D Gallery, which at the time of writing featured Dressing the Decades, an “historical fashion outfits expo”, with paintings by ViktorSavior (and lists photo by Richard de Grataine Suoh and words by Alena Pit, although only Viktor’s painting were on display at the time of my visit).

Phoenix Artists Collaboration: Yours Truly

The core event at PAC officially opens between 12:00 noon and 14:00 SLT on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020.

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Edie Horngold at DiXmiX in Second Life

DiXmiX Gallery: Edie Horngold

Calling Out For You is the title of Edie Horngold’s exhibition at DiXmiX gallery. Located on the gallery’s White hall mezzanine and running through until early February 2020, this is an intriguing series of avatar studies, each of which is intended to frame a story, rather than representing an avatar through portrait or action.

Quite what the story might be is entirely down to those who visit – hence the title for the exhibition – as each image in this selection is highly personal in interpretation. All but one of the images deliberately avoid including the full face of their subject (Edie herself), a move that helps to settle those viewing them into a wider consideration of the narrative framed within each image, rather than being focused purely on looks and expression.

A further aspect to the story elements of the pieces comes through the use of colour, with most of the pieces offered as monochrome pieces. Where colour is used, it is generally not only minimalised, it is often offered through softer tones, allowing it to form a part of the overall narrative without distracting from it by causing the eye to unduly focus on individual parts of the image.

DiXmiX Gallery: Edie Horngold

Take Hisssteria, for example. Here the broader monochrome aspect of the piece is “broken” through the reflective sheen afforded the leather suit, while the use of a flesh tone of the arm blends, rather than clashes, with the more alabaster tone to the exposed flesh elsewhere whilst also offering a suggestion of sinuosity in keeping with with the snake (also offered in softer tones), thus helping the eye and mind to focus more on the relationship between figure and reptile.

A contrast to this approach is Hand With Cigarette. Here the use of colour is richer – the green of the dress deliberately contrasting with the paler flesh and the black background. This helps draw the eye to the red nails, the tempting partial exposure of nipples and the languid hand with the cigarette between relaxed fingers. All combine to imply seduction, the dress and poised hand at the side enhancing the potential for story through the suggestion of a femme fatale.

DiXmiX Gallery: Edie Horngold

It is these hints and echoes that make many of the pieces so intriguing. They draw one into each picture, teasing the imagination, presenting both evocative and provocative lines of narrative; mysteries, if you will, in which the solution is unique to each of us.

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A Walk in the Darkness in Second Life

Terrygold – Carla: Walk in the Darkness

Substance abuse – be it “hard” or “soft” drugs, misuse of prescription drugs or over-indulgence in alcohol, to name but some of its forms – can be a difficult subject to represent. It can come about due to a variety of means and reasons, often with the person or persons caught in the cycle either trying to hide their dependency or deny it. Circumstance often plays a role in misuse, and that circumstance can vary widely.

With her latest installation, Carla, Walk in the Darkness, Terrygold attempts to weave a story of how substance abuse can grow out of the simplest of situations: peer pressure coupled with parental pressure.

Terrygold – Carla: Walk in the Darkness

Though a series of written chapters presented in text, interlinked by a series of 3D vignettes and photographs, the installation traces the story of Carla, a young teenage girl who is apparently content with her lot: school and studying to be a dancer – until she runs into some of her peers into smoking some cannabis.

From this seemingly innocent start, Carla’s life spirals – kicking back and just enjoying the heightened mood associated with cannabis, then skipping dance lessons and rebelling against her family’s concern / pressure that gives her a need to seek “freedom”, which itself is a further opening of the Pandora’s box of needing to recapture the comfort and escape of that first high through every more damaging ways – damaging to both herself and members of her family.

The story is set out in a series of descending rooms, starting from the uppermost, where a general introduction to the installation can be found, together with information on how best to view the installation. Spiralling downwards, each room offers a piece of the story, the physical descent from room to room clearly a metaphor for the descent into the darkness of substance abuse / dependency. Following the path down can be a little difficult in places, – so just cam around if you feel your are stuck; there are clues in places – green triangles on the floor or roses spread across them.

It is ultimately a dark tale that does not end happily – as one might expect – and the ending is made that much starker because after it, we get to see what might have happened if, instead of succumbing to a need to be accepted by peers, Carla had uttered a simple word.

Overall, the story is well told; the words of the story have in places obviously been carefully chosen to have maximum impact, and the individual vignettes (some of which may have interactive elements, so be sure to mouse around them rather than simply passing through) emphasise the key points of the tale. That said, there is a risk some might find the story a little too artificial in structure (long has been the debate around whether medicinal use of some drugs can lead to a need / dependency on them or carry a person into the realm “hard” drug abuse). However, as I’ve noted, this isn’t a subject that is easy to represent or broach; as such some license in the structure and outcome should be allowed.

Terrygold – Carla: Walk in the Darkness

Carla: Walk in the Darkness officially opens at 13:00 SLT on Saturday, January 4th, 2020.

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JanitaEduarda Arado at La Galerie D’angle

La Galerie D’angle: JanitaEduarda Arado

Currently open – for a while longer at least, given it commenced at the end of October 2019! – at La Galerie D’angle, curated by Mary Zimmer, is an exhibition by JanitaEduarda Arado.

I confess that I’m not aware of being that familiar with JanitaEduarda’s work, but will say that this exhibition is a superb introduction. Comprising some 40 images, the pieces presented in it cover landscape, avatar and self-studies that are diverse and eye-catching. Throughout all of them as a rich understanding of colour, tone, depth of field / focus and – as is always important for me – narrative.

La Galerie D’angle: JanitaEduarda Arado

The latter are particularly strong in the self-studies spaced throughout the exhibition, where the suggestion of a broader story – or a layering of stories is offered. Take When the Last Sound has Faded, for example. This predominantly monochrome piece has several tales to tell, from a suggestion of a love of music, through the emotional power of music to the tale of a love now past and the loneliness / regret that follows – or, conversely, in the peace and solitude that a release from a relationship brings.

Sometimes the stories are more indirect. Take Stillness of the Mind. Here the idea of piece may initially be suggested through the use of soft focus that rendered the figure in the background as blurred, suggestive of someone lost in thought. However, the same depth of field brings the milk urn on the kitchen table into sharp focus, and with it the idea of liquid at rest, undisturbed, still – and so we have a metaphor for a mind at rest.

La Galerie D’angle: JanitaEduarda Arado

Once again, this is a superb exhibition for this gallery, featuring an artist whose pieces invite the imagination to take flight. Not to be missed before it closes.

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Lundy Art Gallery in Second Life

The Lundy Art Gallery

Operated by Lee1 Olsen, the Lundy Art Gallery is a must-visit destination for all who appreciate Second Life art, offering as it does a broad cross-section of pieces by 2D and 3D artists.

At the time of my visit, the main hall of the gallery presented something of a historic look at Second Life, featuring artists who have joined the platform relatively recently, and those whose names are very much a part of the SL art landscape, helping as they have to establish and build artistic expression within the platform.

The Lundy Gallery: Barbara Borromeo (back). Mistero Hifeng (right) and Ciottolina Xue (foreground)

Within the hall, and split between the main floor and upper mezzanine, are pieces by Etamae, Eylinea, Gitu Aura, Barbara Borromeo, Rage Darkstone, Kerupa Flow, Mistero Hifeng, Wan Laryukov, JolieElle Parfort), Patrick Moya, Romy, Nayar, Bryn Oh, Vorum Short, Monroe Snook, Theda Tammas, Elle Thorkveld, Talullah Winterwolf, and CioTToLiNa Xue, to name just some of the artists present.

The Lundy Gallery: JolieElle Parfort

Despite the volume of art on display, the gallery structure is large enough and open enough to make any visit and an appreciation of the art a relaxed, easy affair. There is room to move, and space to see individual pieces or groups of pieces without feeling crowded out by the amount of art on offer.

If I’m understanding the posters at the entrance to the gallery, this ensemble exhibition will run through to mid-January before being replaced by the first to open in 2020, making it an ideal New Year visit. In addition to the main hall, the gallery has two smaller halls, each located in the wings to either side and accessible from both the lower and mezzanine levels. At the time of my end-of-2019 visit, these housed exhibitions by Ilyra Chardin and the inimitable Patrick Moya.

The Lundy Gallery: Theda Tammas

A stunning collection with a breadth and depth not often seen in SL.

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