Five artists at La Maison d’Aneli in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli – Desy Magic
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.

La Maison d’Aneli – Daco Monday

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.

La Maison d’Aneli – Madee (Kupu2)

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.

La Maison d’Aneli – JudiLynn India

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?

La Maison d’Aneli – Nino Vichan

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.


Giovanna’s Doll House in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise – Doll’s House

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.

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise – Doll’s House

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.

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise – Doll’s House

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.

La Maison d’Aneli: Giovanna Cerise – Doll’s House

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.

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Vita’s contrasts in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli – Vita Theas: Chiaroscuro

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.

La Maison d’Aneli – Vita Theas: Chiaroscuro

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.

La Maison d’Aneli – Vita Theas: Chiaroscuro

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.

La Maison d’Aneli – Vita Theas: Chiaroscuro

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.

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  • ChiaroscuroLa Maison d’Aneli (Virtual Holland, rated Moderate)

Khaos in motion in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Khaos Part 1 is the title of a new 3D installation currently open at La Maison d’Aneli, operated and curated by Aneli Abeyant. It marks the latest collaboration by Cherry Manage and YadeYu Fhang, two artists noted for their distinctive style and for presenting art installations that tend to be layered and nuanced, and which require time to experience, rather than simply observe.

All three of the attributes mentioned above are very much in evidence with this latest work, particularly as there do not seem to be any liner notes supplied by either artist as to their intent with it, this requiring the grey matter to be cranked into action.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Reached via the teleport disk at the gallery’s main landing point, it is important that visitors take note of the basic requirements for visiting the installation. In short, these are:

  • Make sure your viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) is enabled (Preferences Graphics make sure the Advanced Lighting Model option is checked).
  • Enable Used Shared Environment (World menu Environment make sure Use Shared Environment is check).
  • As you walk into the installation space, make sure you accept the local Experience when asked to join (this happens as you walk towards the installation from the teleport).
La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

To these I would add a moderate Draw Distance of around 150-200 metres is ideal for viewing the installation, and that visitors should be prepared for some fairly visually violent interactions. Finally, if you’re in a position to freecam / flycam, you most definitely should do so, as this is a 3D installation with multiple perspectives and where the local verticals are not necessarily oriented to the plane on which you walk.

Situated in a sharply-defined sky – while below, a black, star-studded sky above across which square clouds pass, the installation might be described as an artificial, geometrical landscape made up of translucent blocks. Almost transparent around the teleport point, these become more opaque towards the far horizon, where they form a tumble of large cubes and blocks suspended in such a way as to suggest a wall frozen in the act of collapse.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Before this wall are humanoid figures, some of whom appear to be falling from the wall, tucked into tight balls, others appear frozen in a motion of action – some mid-fall, some apparently trying to run away, two caught mid-fight. Many appear to be coalescing out of smaller blocks – or perhaps breaking up into them, depending on your viewpoint. Lines of light spear they way through some, adding to the impression they are breaking up; elsewhere solid lines pass through others, slanted as if to present a visual  indicator of their motion.

The overall sense of the setting is one of disordered randomness – which is added to by the fact that within this basic setting, nothing is constant. Light shifts and glimmers, other figures both large and small appear and vanish, some performing actions, some caught in whirlwinds of blocks swirling around or a maelstrom of wind. As time passes, a forest of rectangular beams many appear, some seeming to rise and fall as light plays over and through them, or avalanches of white cubes will suddenly rain down the “slope”, or masses of while lines will roll and twist in place, like streamers of snow caught in a storm.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

Nor is this all – as you explore the scene on foot, and having accepted the local experience, you will suddenly find yourself part of it, being shaken violently, or pulled roughly into Mouselook as your body hang bent doubled only to be slammed several time into an invisible floor before being released to fall – and then returned to the platform.

Disconcerting, chaotic, ever-changing within the main backdrop, what is to be made of all of this? For my part, I was drawn to the idea that Khaos Part 1 is perhaps a reflection on the idea of chaos theory; the concept that while dynamic systems may well have apparently random states of disorder and irregularities, they are in fact governed by underlying patterns and deterministic laws that are highly sensitive to their initial conditions. And in a mirrored reflection of this, perhaps there is also the idea that whilst life can appear to be well-ordered and subject to patterns and laws as defined by society, it is at its core the product of a chaos that is never far from the surface, simply because of the unpredictable nature of basic human emotional response and outlook.

La Maison d’Aneli: Khaos Part 1

However, I’ll leave further interpretation to you; as noted, there are no liner notes provided with the installation, and I’d prefer not to to colour reactions with my own interpretations, and will leave things here, other than to speculate that given this is “part 1”, there may will be a follow-on installation at some point.

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La Maison d’Aneli: new exhibits; new look

La Maison d’Aneli Gallery: Sweet Susanowa

Wednesday, May 20th marked the opening of a new ensemble exhibition at La Maison d’Aneli Gallery, curated by Aneli Abeyante, together with a new look / set-up for the gallery’s spaces.

For those familiar with the gallery’s former “indoor” futuristic look with the display spaces all physically linked, the current appearance is very different. On the ground sits a warehouse-like building tucked into a corner of Virtual Holland. With an outdoor seating area / event space, the warehouse offers two routes to the exhibition spaces.

La Maison d’Aneli: Desy Magic

The gallery spaces are now located in the sky overhead and connected via teleport both with the ground and one to the next. These new spaces actually gives artists more physical space with their exhibitions / installations, including the freedom to add the the décor / environment in which they are displaying their art.

The teleports, as noted, take two forms: individual Anywhere Doors that, from the ground, take visitors directly to a specific exhibit / installation. These also connect one exhibit to another, if a little randomly in terms of you don’t know where you’re going next when you open a Door on any given exhibition space.

La Maison d’Aneli: Nox Kirax

For those who prefer to select where they are going, the gallery spaces and the ground level are also connected via teleport disks that will offer a menu of destinations within the gallery, allowing visitors to pick where they go next.

The artists displaying at the gallery comprise:

  • Ilyra Chardin, with The New Normal: The Date, 3D installation offering a commentary on the current state of physical / social isolation resulting from the SARS-COV-2 pandemic.
  • Slatan Dryke, with a redux of his installation, Crumbs from my Nightmares.
  • Thoth Jantzen, presenting Vortex one of his  immersive, mesmerising media shows.
  • Nox Kirax, with a set of his portraits in which visitors are invited to consider the expressions on the faces of the subjects and reflect on what they might be saying.
  • Desy Magic, offering a captivating selection of avatar studies, paintings, and 3D sculpture.
  • Sophie Marie Sinclair, presenting a number of her physical world nude and abstract paintings.
  • Sweet Susanowa, with an intriguing selection of photographs and abstracted paintings / drawings.
La Maison d’Aneli: Ilyra Chardin

Together, they make for an engaging mix of art and expression. I admit to having a certain attraction to Thoth’s work and Desy’s images that tends to make me lean towards them, and that is true here -although admittedly, a still image of Thoth’s work really doesn’t convey it, it really does have to be experienced.

Ilyra’s piece is certainly of the times, and the staging of a couple sharing a romantic meal  whilst keeping strictly to their own apartments, and they sharing it whilst separated by the gap between their balconies is certainly of the time, whilst Slatan’s redux offers the chance to re-visit an installation that challenged introspection the first time around.

La Maison d’Aneli: Sophie Marie Sinclair

Nox Kirax, Sophie Marie Sinclair and Sweet Susanowa was three “new” artists for me, inasmuch as I’m not aware of seeing their work in the past, and all three offer something entirely engaging, in very different ways to one another. I particularly found the portraits by Nox to hold my attention in full, while the sheer diversity of imagery with Sweet’s exhibit offer a richness of imagery and a different style of narrative within them, while Sophie’s nudes have a wonderfully fluid feel to them that is suggestive of life and vitality.

A further engaging ensemble of exhibitions well worth seeing.

La Maison d’Aneli: Slatan Dryke

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Expressive art at La Maison d’Aneli in Second Life

La Maison d’Aneli: FionaFei

Aneli Abeyante opened the April 2020 exhibition at La Maison d’Aneli on Wednesday, April 8th, and once again she offers an intriguing and engaging selection of art and artists, with content running from physical world art through to digital media whilst enfolding both 2D and 3D art. In keeping with the gallery’s ensemble style of art shows, six individual exhibits are presented for April, the work of seven artists in total split between the lower and upper levels of the gallery.

On the lower floor, and to the south side of the central aisle are contrasting 2D art displays by Agleo Runningbear and Tralala Loordes.

La Maison d’Aneli: Agleo Runningbear

Known as April Louise Turner in the the physical world, Agleo is a woman of many colours – art, shaman, teacher, poetess, to name but four – who presents her work under her own name and the title ArtShifter. She is a gifted portrait artist and caricaturist, who here presents 20 of her pieces in both line drawing and colour, of celebrities from the worlds of art, entertainment and fashion, some of them more than once.

Most of the faces (particularly if you have a long memory or a love or the arts, entertainment and fashion) may leap out at you, as did for me, Jaques Brel, Charles Aznavour (x2), Gerard Depardieu, the charcoal (?) caricature of Catherine Deneuve, the pairing of Karl Lagerfeld images (one a slight giveaway as his name is added) and the pair of Yves Saint Laurent pictures (although I did initially wonder if his blue-toned painting might be Isaac Asimov on first sighting it).

La Maison d’Aneli: Tralala Loordes

Tralala – perhaps best known for her Tralalas Diner location designs, presents a further series of self-portraits featuring LODE headpieces in what might be described as a celebration of the warmer seasons mixed with a hint of fantasy. These are quite gorgeous pieces – although I admit to feeling that the ambient lighting for the display does not do them the justice they deserve.

Across the central aisle to the north are the digital media presentations by Etamae and the combined talents of Kalyca McCallen and Eifachfilm Vacirca (aka Proton d-oo-b) operating under the combined name of Alchemelic.

La Maison d’Aneli: Etamae

Hailing from the UK, Etamae has a gift for producing striking images from Second Life of – to use her own words – “the things she has seen and loved which have inspired her to transform them into something else – not more, nor better – simply different.” The results are always captivating, and here she offers an installation of what might be described as two parts – both of which require the use of the viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM: Preferences → Graphics, with the further advisory that your local viewer time is set to midnight). The first presents a series of animated digital images that challenge the eye in an almost hypnotic manner, the subtle motion drawing us into them and gently holding us in a trace. The second part is an equally hypnotic chamber that again involves animated elements.

Alchemelic describe themselves as “a Zurich-based music and art project with cinematographic background, mixed media, and 3D modelling [who] aspire to spark your imagination and elevate your mood with our unique blend of visual art and original music.” At La Maison d’Aneli they offer a two-part installation, The Space Between, which again particularly requires ALM to be enabled) might be described as an examination of the nature of space and relationships that has taken on something of a new meaning in recent times.  Take the Anywhere Door to reach the second part of the installation.

La Maison d’Aneli: Etamae

On the upper floor of the gallery, and lying to either side of the events areas are the exhibits by FionaFei and Xirana Oximoxi.

An artist from Catalan, Xirana describes her art as reflecting her concerns and moods at different times, abstractions or “mental landscapes” that are rooted in a number of artistic mediums and genres. With Lost Souls she offers a marvellous unique series of images that have been born out of the pandemic worries of 2020, and which offer an entrancing play on the the idea of portraiture. Trapped by social isolation and visiting a rooftop, Xirana  found herself drawn to the irregular nature of the walls and their coverings. Weathered and cracked, in places broken, rough conglomerate abutting smooth surface finish, lined and cracked, the surfaces suggest – with a gentle touch of post-processing – faces and characters. The result is is series of utterly captivating “portraits” of “souls” caught within plaster, stone and concrete that brings an entire new meaning to the expression if these walls could speak.

La Maison d’Aneli: Xirana Oximoxi

Facing Lost Souls, FionaFei offers us the chance to visit a wonderful ink wash garden of water lilies in bloom as they are admired by butterflies. Initially appearing to be 2D pieces, these are all more of Fiona’s thoroughly delightful, almost fragile-looking sculptures-as-paintings. Six are offered as hanging scrolls, the seventh, sitting behind a small pond of Fiona’s lilies, as a painting. A small table offers 2D representations of this main painting as a gift to all who visit.

Individual, evocative and fascinating, April at La Maison d’Aneli presents another collection of art that should not be missed.

La Maison d’Aneli: FoinaFei

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