La Maison d’Aneli, the gallery complex operated and curated by Aneli Abeyante, and so long the host centre for a range of art exhibitions in Second Life (many of which have been featured in these pages), may have closed at the end of 2022, but the name lives on, now as a home for Aneli’s own art.
Her most recent exhibition, Scrap Heap, opened on April 19th, 2023, and it gave me good reason to visit the new La Maison d’Aneli, located within its own airborne space at vroum Short’s VeGeTaL PLaNeT. The core of this exhibition can be found on the upper level of the gallery, and features a collection of eight photographs taken by Aneli in the physical world which offer us the opportunity to view metal structures and objects through her eye and lens.
From the gears of aged industrial machines to the skeletal remains of metal frames, passing by way of the metal core of building long fallen into disuse, this is a selection of images captivating in their subject and the approach Aneli has taken to recording them. Her use of angle, focus and object presenting us with a series of images which – contrary to their static nature – have a richness of life and history to them.
Scrap Heap sits above an more expansive display area, complete with indoor event space, in which Aneli displays a selection of her digital art. Focused on the use of geometry withing pieces which are both static and animated, these are pieces which are engaging in form and in motion; visually pleasing digital abstractions with a further expression of life and motion which can be quite hypnotising – just cam in onto Lueur1 and / or Composition 2 for just a minute or two and see what I mean.
In addition, the gallery space has been dressed by Aneli in keeping with the Scrap Heap theme. the walls in places finished as aged, rusting metal, industrial grating used as flooring and walkways, and rusting flotsam in the waters either side of the landing point. This dressing and décor helps add a level of immersiveness to the gallery and the exhibition whilst also providing a visual counterpoint to the organised regularity of the digital pieces.
Although and engaging pair of exhibitions presented by an engaging Second Life artist, and on a personal note I’ll add that it is pleasing to see someone whole had devoted so much of her time promoting the art of others in Second Life now taking time to stage and display exhibitions of her own work.
Update: December 15th: Aneli has announced the exhibitions below will be the last for La Maison d’Aneli
Here I am at the end of my adventure as a gallery owner, of course I will stay on Second Life as a simple artist … I thank all the people who accompanied me …. what a beautiful adventure we have shared, more than twelve years with an exhibition per month, and you always there. Long live creation!
– From a note sent out by Aneli Abeyante
The exhibition below will remain open through to January 14th, 2023. Aneli also notes that the La Maison d’Aneli group will remain open for people to share information on their artistic events and exhibitions.
December 14th, 2022 sees the official opening of five new exhibitions to see out the year at La Maison d’Aneli, curated by Aneli Abeyante. Produced and presented by five artists with highly individual skills and outlook, they present an intriguing mix that can engaging, amuse, possibly confuse, and provoke – and all of which are now available for viewing ahead of the formal opening.
Before going into specifics, when visiting all of these exhibitions, do make sure you have Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled in your viewer (Preferences → Graphics → make sure Advanced Lighting Model is checked); although shadows do not have to also be enabled, so you can set the drop-down to No Shadows to reduce the rendering load. Also note also that this piece includes SLurls for teleporting directly to each exhibition.
Yann Gyro (sempiternel) is an artist whose work I do not recall having come across before, so his 3D installation at La Masion d’Aneli came as a new experience for me, being a piece I had difficultly in interpreting. Predominantly greyscale / black-and-white in nature, it appears to comprise multiple elements which at first seem to have no connection: a bridge wit water running over it and a broken egg below; black snow falling from a white sky, a series of heads in various stages of being drawn, a female head gazing upwards through a hail of falling musical notes and with a starscape and astronaut floating within, a map of the world formed by irregular blocks mounted on an irregular grid, and so on. Footsteps on the ground provide a guide to exploring the installation – and should be followed. But how might it be interpreted?
I eventually concluded this is a piece about finding balance. That on the one hand we have been given the gifts of evolution, creativity and the power to shape our own future (symbolised by the evolving heads, the musical notes falling from the sky; the dream of space travel an our quest to understand the cosmos contained within the female head; and the figure rising within the double helix); whilst on the other, those same gifts can result in environmental and physical destruction (the falling black snow; the shattering bridge and broken egg; the flower in the bell jar). Thus comes the suggestion that should we fail to balance these two sides in the manner of a gyroscope, they we will inevitably wobble, falter, and fail to keep to the true path of our potential.
ZackHerrMann, meanwhile, presents a further chapter in the life of his alter-ego Linda Cluster in celebration of art and music, using the virtual immersion of Second Life to recreate his physical world works representing Linda Cluster to give them greater depth and visual appeal.
Vibrant in their use of colour, animations and sue of geometry and symmetry, be aware that some of the surfaces within this installation are media-enabled, so be sure to click the “movie camera” icon in the top right of the viewer window to make sure media is enabled (you do not need to have the audio stream enabled, as this applies to the gallery as a whole (unless to want to).
Drawing is above all my favourite discipline, because everything starts from drawing. It’s the idea, it’s the mood, it’s the choice, and all artistic work begins with a drawing. For me, drawing expresses the gift of self, communicating the sensitivity, character, and sentiment of the individual.
– Thanos Runner
Using his own words is perhaps the best way to introduce Livlic Ateliers by Thanos Runner. A multi-talented artist who prefers to focus on the human body and produce portraits of those he encounters through the medium of drawing rather than painting or digital composition.
His work is utterly captivating in the manner in which he captures his subjects and brings to the fore the beauty which can be called forth through the use of graphite lines on what paper by the skilled hand. At the same time his offers a richness of dialogue on the human form through his coloured images as they celebrate the human body.
Located in northern Tuscany, the Apuan Alps are renown for their Carrara marble, the most quarried marble it the world and used since Roman times for monumental sculpture and in architecture, but which today sees much of the 9 million tonnes quarried annually devoted to the production of toothpaste – and in the process is devastating the mountains at an accelerated rate.
As a native of the region, Onceagain (Manoji Yachvili) presents Cave Hominem, a series of photographs of the quarrying operations as a pictorial diary of the destruction being wrought for Second Life users to absorb. Offered in monochrome shading which enhances the rude damage being wrought on a daily basis – damage which she notes has led to visible changes in the look of mountains from her home – and set within an environment reflective of that encountered within the quarries themselves, this is an exhibition encompassing environmental damage we all too willingly inflict on the world around us which rings out as loudly as the roar, clang and bang of the instruments and tools of destruction used to wreck the Apuans and lay claim to their rock.
With As Above, So Below, Traci Ultsch complete the circle of exhibitions by presenting an installation that is left open to interpretation in a manner similar to that of Yann Gyro’s at the top of this article. It is also a piece where, again, having ALM enabled is absolutely essential (otherwise all you’ll see is the inside of a white cube!). Presented in monochrome, eye-pipingly visual (perhaps literally so in the case of the main image?) I am at a loss to describe this work – so I’ll instead urge you to go see it for yourself, together with the other four exhibits herein reviewed.
The official opening for all five exhibitions will take place at 12:30 SLT on Wednesday, December 14th, 2022, with music provided by Traci Ultsch.
Having opened on April 6th, 2022, Kicca Igaly and Nessuno Myoo present two intriguing installations at La Maison d’Aneli (curated by Aneli Abeyante) that stand a both individual pieces and as installations that might – in the mind of the visitor – also be intertwined in terms of theme and potential interpretation.
Before getting to the exhibits – both of which can be reached from the teleport disc at the gallery’s ground-level landing point – please note that to appreciate these installations fully, yo should ensure Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) is enabled and render quality is set to High (if your system can handle it) – both set through Preferences → Graphics, and that the viewer is also set to use the Shared Environment.
Within Pulsions, Kicca explores the idea that the human condition – the lives we lead and how we interact – is propelled by the decisions we make individually and collectively; pulsion itself being the act of driving forward (as opposed to being drawn forward involuntarily as a result of influences over which we have no direct control).
Within the setting, we are presented by scenes of everyday life: mothers with their children sharing a conversation; children at play, a mother and daughter passing a (presumably) homeless man asleep on a park bench; a tall man watching the children at play, and so on. Over the shoulders of each character float two little figures – their better angels (or positive pulsions) and darker demons (or negative pulsions) that drive their behaviour – whether or not a group conversation descends into gossip and rumour-spreading; whether a discussion remains calm and reasoned or descends into a heated, angry exchange; whether a game played remains friendly and fun or embroiled in bitterness on losing, and so on. By using the term pulsion, Kicca reminds us that the negative choices we make may not always be driven by a need to hurt or upset and so are not necessarily “evil” or “cruel” – although the tall figure watching the two youngsters also perhaps reminds us there can be intentional evil driving the decisions some make…
Within As Mammoths In The Middle Of Butterflies, Nessuno presents a single, stunning sculpture of the skeletal forms of two mammoths of unequal size apparently locked in combat, the smaller forced down onto its rear hunches and attempted to ward off a blow from the foreleg of the larger as it rears up on its hind legs in order to deliver the blow with greater force. Around both rises a cloud of butterflies, their peace and innocence shattered by the warring beasts.
Quite what we make of this is left entirely open to interpretation, the artist only stating At the sunset of existence, immersed in the wonder of its own nature. Thus, how we respond to the piece is entirely subjective. For my part, the use of mammoths (now long extinct) and the term “sunset of existence” suggests the piece can – and as with Kicca’s Pulsions – be taken on a statement about the human condition.
That we are, for example, so polarised in views on subjects such as global warming and so focused on arguing about it, we cannot pause to address the fact that we really are disrupting the global ecosystem and hastening our own demise. Other might see it as a commentary on the the danger of the old truism “might is right”, that some countries have grown so arrogant in their own superiority and might, they care little about the manner in which the decisions they make can have shattering and disruptive impacts on others.
But rather than add further subjective thoughts of my own here, I’ll leave it to the sculpture to express itself to you. All I’ll say in closing is that once again, Kicca and Nessuno present two installations that engage both the eye and the mind.
The latest exhibition at Aneli Abeyante’s La Maison d’Aneli opened on September 15th, 2021, once again focusing on a group of artists with very different styles who present both 2D and 3D works, in a set of exhibitions that compliment one another, and which I’ll tackle in their teleport (via the ground level teleport disk as short walk from the landing point) order.
Hailing from Italy, Daco Monday is a self-taught artist who entered Second Life in 2009. His art is inspired by, and makes use of, space, as is amply demonstrated within Severed Roots, a fascinating 3D environment that mixes elements from a previous work (De Chiricocanto) with newer pieces to create a fascinating diorama that offers multiple possible interpretations. The central characters in this diorama take two forms: there is the stylised 3D artist from De Chiricocanto, who stands alongside a 3D musician (“the drummer”), then there is the image of a couple posing for a portrait and which occurs multiple times, in whole or in the shards of a shattered mirror. A large handgun and an old-style photographic plate camera hang on the air to one side, while particle figures dance and eyeballs roll.
Quite what we are to make of this is, as I’ve noted, a matter for personal interpretation – although I would suggest a clue might be found within the installation’s title and possibly the idea of time being shattered (but admittedly, as I’m mid-way through binge-watching Lost, I could be under the influence of that show’s frequent left turns into weirdness!).
Within her space, Madee (Kupu2) presents Precious Moments, a highly engaging series of self-studies with her avatar in both motion (dance) and at rest. Some of these should be considered not suitable for work as they contain nudity, but all are all completely engaging in capturing mood, emotion, movement and form. Presented in monochrome with a soft focus finish, the pieces reveal a talent that whilst new to the world of Second Life photography, is already producing quite mesmerising images and stories.
Utilising a soft form of black and white chiaroscuro, Madee’s art perfectly frames the beauty of the female form against a consistent dark background, leaving us with no distractions to carry our attention away from the central figure in each.
Desy Magic is an artist I first gained familiarity with whilst visiting Ayuda Virtual, the community gateway specifically developed in support of Spanish-speaking people. She is modest enough to believe she is not an artist, but an experimentalist who particularly likes to work with colour and form. However, the pieces offered in this exhibition prove that while she is very much an experimentalist, she very much is a skilled artist with an eye not only colour and form, but composition, cropping and finish to present highly engaging pieces rich in narrative and which encompass a number of artistic styles including abstract, expressionism and digital collage. It is a selection that includes what is perhaps my favourite of Desy’s pieces I’ve seen to date: Astronauta – if only NASA and ESA would paint the Orion capsule and its service module so imaginatively.
Around these 2D pieces are a number of equally engaging 3D pieces by Desy, some comprising a mix of fluid and abstract female forms.
Abstract is the nature of JudiLynn India’s work, which really needs no introduction in these pages, as I’ve long appreciated her work. Her original painting are glorious in the order she offers out of the apparent chaos of colour, As always with JudyLynn’s art, the pieces displayed in this exhibition are all remarkable pieces she has created and then uploaded to Second Life; pieces that should be allowed to speak to us individually.
Nino Vichan has always been an artist who seeks to challenge our perceptions and thinking through his work – although I confess I’d lost track of him over the last few years (I was actually under the – possibly incorrect – thinking he had stepped away from Second Life). How well he achieves the former is a matter of individual choice, but there is no mistaking the evocative / provocative intent to his work. With Better Angels at La Maison d’Aneli, he highlights the dichotomy between our lean towards goodness and kindness, as represented by the images of angles offered on their easels, with our proclivity towards cruelty towards each other in so many ways – warfare, genocide, human trafficking, slavery, etc. Between the images are the words, there are at least two questions: the first is can we listen to the appeal of our better angels, our better selves?
Five very different artists, each with an individual talent for presenting their work and engaging our eyes and minds, who here combine to present an evocative tour of art well worth taking the time to visit and appreciate.
At the start of the week, I visited Sybil, one of two new installations by Giovanna Cerise that opened at the end of July 2021. In my review of that installation (see: Giovanna’s Sybil in Second Life), I noted that I would also be visiting her other installation as well (which actually opened the same day) – although time and circumstance has meant I’m actually getting to it later than I’d anticipated when writing about Sybil!
Doll’s House is one of several exhibitions to have opened recently at Aneli Abeyante’s La Maison d’Aneli complex in Second Life, and it is once again a signature piece by Giovanna, being both layered and tonal, presenting the visitor with what at first seems to be merely a room of sculptures, but which actually encourages us to think about what we’re seeing on a number of levels.
The room is clearly the Doll’s House of the title, and the sculptures – 3D renderings on humans caught in various situations / poses – the “dolls” within it. However, they are not rendered as dolls; rather they appear an monofilament meshes, their vertices and triangles all visible as they sit, lie, stand, balance precariously, the majority juggling or playing balancing tricks with one or more mesh balls.
Monochrome in nature – black vertices and white mesh faces, set within a monochrome house, the black, grey and white here and there broken by lines, dots and dashes of red and a single 2D red silhouette – the installation may at first appear to be random and without expression. However, this is far from the case.
Set on the walls of the lobby area just outside the installation, is large red sign with the invitation Touch for a Notecard. Doing so will present you with Giovanna’s thoughts on Doll’s House, which reveal it is an exercise in consideration:
House doll game irony objective balance precariousness obsession multitasking ephemeral presence absence alienation homologation fashion perfection risk superficiality smoothness narcissism socialization expression angle omnipresence ego story truth lie form oppression annihilation distortion violence choice impossible possible freedom slavery….
These are some of the words that came to mind while I was building, looking, modifying Doll’s House . My invitation [to you] is to leave a word on a notecard that you could then put in the lens. The word can be chosen from those that I have listed or linked to it or the one that comes to mind, freely, after viewing the installation.
The words you will leave will be the starting point for the development of a multifaceted artistic project that will create chains, intersections, overlaps, emotions, suggestions, visions, reflections. Thanks everyone for participating.
– Giovanna Cerise
Thus, Doll’s House might be seen as a means of opening the door for ideas that might be employed in an upcoming installation Giovanna is planning; an exercise in word-play, the characters within the house intended to spark our thinking. But might there be something more?
To me, the answer is clearly “yes” – although in saying so, I don’t want to sway people into feeling their thoughts and words must be trammelled by what I have to say here; those who wish to share in Giovanna’s work might therefore be best served by going to La Maison d’Aneli to witness and respond to it without the excess baggage of my own cogitations, and perhaps come back to this piece after doing so.
So, with that said, and my warning hopefully heeded, I’ll state that I could not help but find Giovanna’s list of words to be a reflection of life – both in the physical sense and the virtual. Each one can easily be applied to our moods, situations, circumstances, relationships, real and virtual, singular and collective, so much so that the list, wrapped as it is within Doll’s House, becomes a prompt for considered introspection on Life The Universe and Everything (but mostly life), the “dolls” of the piece the cues for us to consider who we are what we do, how we face situations, respond to the physical and mental condition / situation of those around us.
In presenting the figures in a mesh-like form, Giovanna seems to be encouraging us to consider these thoughts not just as they affect us in the physical world, but how we carry them – whether we accept this or not – with us into the virtual. Because at the end of the day, aren’t virtual environments like Second Life the ultimate doll’s house? Places where we can play dress-up, and make-believe, become what we wish – yet always carry with us that central essence of who we are? Are the not also a microcosm of life itself, in that howsoever we opt to utilise that trait we call “free will” does carry consequences, personal and potentially collective.
If one accepts this viewpoint, then might it not be fair to say that as well as an invitation to participate, Doll’s House is also presenting us with a very subtle mirrored glass rather than a simple lens; one that allows us to peek into Giovanna’s creativity whilst also seeing into our our lives and actions?
I’ll say nothing more, having possibly belaboured the point; but I do urge you to witness and consider Doll’s House for yourself, and for you to leave a word for Giovanna. Just take the teleporter from the gallery’s main landing point.
Chiaroscuro is an Italian term that literally translates as “clear-dark”, although within the world of art, it is more usually referred to as “light-dark”, and references the use of strong contrasts between darker and lighter colours or shades in images, be they paintings, drawings, sketches, photographs – even video and film in the modern era – and which is intended to give a sense of volume and three-dimensional depth to an image through the use of lighter contrasts within the subject of the composition, and the broader contrast between the subject and the background.
It’s a technique that is all around us in art (just look at almost any portraiture or painting by the European painters of the Renaissance, for example or modern photographic portraiture or even graphic novels), and its use extends into visual mediums such as the stage, and more latterly, advertising, television, and film (for example, Francis Ford Coppola uses the technique extensively within The Godfather trilogy – just take a look at this still of Al Pacino from the first film in the series). However, it also doesn’t have to purely the contrast between “dark” and “light”; Andy Warhol, for example, utilised the technique extensively through his use of really bold colours contrasted against lighter tones rich in brightness.
In music, Chiaroscuro again emphasises contrast, combining a brilliant sound referred to as squillo with a dark timbre called scuro to produce a sound that has considerable depth and warmth. It is perhaps most notable in its use within opera, although again, many compositions, from classical through to the modern era also use it.
I mention all of the above, because it is the richness and depth of contrast suggested by Chiaroscuro that Vita Theas embraces in her exhibition of the the same name that opened at Aneli Abeyante’s La Maison d’Aneli arts centre on Wednesday, May 26th.
Set within a space created by Vita that enhances the idea of contrasts (dark brick wall and heavy wood roof timbers over which sits the inverted bowl of a glorious sunset itself beset with darkening clouds lit by the lowering Sun, the marvellous murals she also presents on the walls – look at the sense of movement contrasted with the relative calm of the ships beyond in the “waterfront” piece, for example), this is a collection that embraces the idea of Chiaroscuro in art, image, and life.
From monochrome images – perhaps the “simplest”(if such a word might be employed) expression of the use of contrast through to avatar studies that reflect the use of chiaroscuro both in modern photographic portraiture (Lost, If Only…,Hope), to pieces evocative of classical portraits of the likes of the Dutch Masters (And Then He Was Gone), this is a collection that also celebrates the broader use of the technique in landscape photography (where again, we might not actually be aware the technique is present) pop art (the quite brilliant Warhol-esque Seduce), and more.
These are images that also illustrate the essential vitality of life that is evident through contrast. As Vita herself notes, the interactions of light and shadows, brightness and darkness, warm and cool colours and shading, all work together to give these pieces a visual and emotional depth, a reminder that chiaroscuro isn’t just a technique, it is a part of the fabric of life. Just take a look (again) at And Then He Was Gone and both Regret and the exhibition poster; all three present a powerful sense of emotion through the contrast of pose and background, or that between the overlaid focal image and backgrounds.
A truly powerful and evocative collection, Chiaroscuro offers an engaging selection of art that can be appreciated for its visual appeal and composition and for its ability to get the grey matter working.
Chiaroscuro, La Maison d’Aneli (Virtual Holland, rated Moderate)