Viewing a bare canvas in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: White Canvas

The latest exhibition to come to Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is once again intriguing in subject. Put together at short notice by Diconay Boa Cross (Diconay Boa), White Canvas takes tattoos as its theme – a subject which itself is richly evocative, and has potential to be provocative in a number of ways.

The liner notes for the exhibition point to some of the many reasons we may get a tattoo. It’s also true that the tattoos we get can elicit a range of reactions: admiration, repulsion, acceptance, rejection, attraction – perhaps even predatory – and so on. Hence their evocative / provocative duality.

However, with the body as a living canvas, tattoos can also be genuine genre of art; the professional tattoo artist can wield their coil machine, use its needles and inks with the consummate skill of a skilled painter – and, with the right subject – produce pieces as exquisite as any Monet or challenging as any Picasso.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: White Canvas

Second Life brings this latter aspect of tattoo art particularly to life, and with a none of the pain that the recipient might otherwise have to face, and none of the limitations the artist may have to deal with as a result of fears over said discomforts. True, the tools of the trade might be GIMP, PhotoShop and an keyboard and / or tablet – but the results are the same.

A further advantage with tattoos in Second Life is that wee are able to change our tattoos as easily as changing a pair of earrings or cufflinks in the physical world. hence why, perhaps, that Diconay refers to tattoos jewellery for the Skin.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: White Canvas

The images presented in White Canvas bring to the fore the artistry involved in virtual tattoos – but this in turn echoes the beauty that can be achieved through the application of ink via needle. There is a lean towards the more exotic / erotic nature of tattoos in the framing of the images, which tends to separate them from the supplied liner notes for the exhibition rather than allowing the latter help to extend appreciation of the former.

However, this was an exhibition put together as something of a last-minute affair: Diconary and her SL partner Goodcross were actually due to exhibit at the gallery later in the year, but following an eleventh-hour drop-out, Diconary stepped into the breach so that Dido wasn’t faced with a missed exhibition, so allowances should be made for any apparent disconnects.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: White Canvas

Engaging and artistically framed, this is an exhibition that pays homage to tattoos in Second Life as a means for us to express ourselves and stands as a statement to the skill of a very talented avatar photographer.

SLurl Details

White Noise at Nitroglobus in Second Life

Nitroglobus roof Gallery: White Noise

It is a little over a year since Rose (RoseHanry) was last at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, operated and curated by Dido Haas (see: Rose’s Feelings at Nitroglobus) However, her return for April 2021 brings with it an exhibition that might be considered something of a thematic continuation of that last exhibition.

In her previous exhibition at the gallery Rose dealt with images intended to convey an emotional narrative – and with White Noise, her new exhibition at Nitroglobus, that narrative is very much continued, albeit it very much more sharply defined. Thus – and assuming she will allow me to express it in this way – where Feelings might be said to be the introduction to that narrative, White Noise, presented in a style that is entirely its own, offers something of a “second chapter” with its own nuance and focus.

Nitroglobus roof Gallery: White Noise

The central theme of this collection is that of dealing with life’s worries and problems – or more correctly, how we can become so obsessed with the issues of the week / day / hour / moment, we can’t actually see our way past them; we become blind to the world around us and thus, potentially to any means of resolving whatever those problems might be.

In reflection of this, the pieces Rose offers in White Noise comprise a set of avatar studies, each of them rendered as a drawing. Each one conveys a distinct mood or reaction or emotion that can be all to readily identified by anyone who has felt overwhelmed by an issue that could otherwise be handled by stepped back from it, collecting thoughts and then facing it, or who has become so focused on a worry / fear that they have forgotten there are those around them who are ready and willing to help, if only they could see this is so.

Nitroglobus roof Gallery: White Noise

The emotional content of these pieces lies not only from the poses and rendering used for each image, but also from the overall framing. There is no backdrop to any of the images, just a white void. Against this light, the avatar is in some of the images strongly defined, bringing to the fore the very physical reactions we can have when problems overwhelm us – such as anxiety (White Noise 02), vulnerability (White Noise 05), or fear (White Noise 09). In others, the avatar appears partially lost against the all-pervading whiteness, thus evoking the sense of being overwhelmed or lost.

But why “white noise” as a title? In many circumstances (certain work or learning environments, dealing with illnesses such as tinnitus or simply trying to block the noise of passenger, and so on) white noise is known to be highly beneficial. Yet the very fact that it does have the power to overcome other frequencies can be damaging / harmful: the absence of noise can leave us focused solely on the absence of noise, leaving us feeling cut off from the world and alone. Thus the title perfectly reflects the theme of this exhibition, with the uses of the brilliant white backdrop within each image further underscoring this idea and the overall theme for the exhibit.

Nitroglobus roof Gallery: White Noise

Officially opening at 12:00 noon on Monday, April 12th, White Noise is available for preview now, and will run through until early May.

SLurl Details

Bare Skin in Second Life (NSFW)

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bare Skin – Traci Ultsch and Dido Haas

This is the first of planned two visits to Dido Haas’ Nitroglobus Roof Gallery for April – the second will come in about a week and feature the gallery’s April 2021 main exhibition. However, I wanted to jump over to see a new exhibition by Dido herself, together with Tracy Ultsch.

The images in Bare Skin – as noted in the title of this article – may not all be suitable for work viewing, dealing as they do with the subject of female nudity. However, this are not “simple” or “gratuitous” nudity; rather the pieces presented are a genuine celebration of the art and beauty to be found within the female form by two of Second Life’s most accomplished photo portrait artists.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bare Skin – Dido Haas

Located in the smaller gallery space at Nitroglobus, Bare Skin presents a total of eight monochrome images by Dido and Traci, who display four pieces each.  The two sets of pictures are most clearly differentiated by the fact that Traci’s work utilised a white background, and Dido’s a black backdrop. Both artists approach their work in a similar manner – none of the images feature any background elements distraction to clutter up each image, although props are used in some (notably a cat with some of Traci’s images) that add a sense of focus / narrative.

Whilst breasts and/or nether regions can be seen in some of the images, these are not – again as noted above – pictures intended to titillate in any way. Rather, through framing, pose and focus they encourage the observer to initially consider the inherent grace and lines of the female body,  be it is the rise and sweep of a breast, the arch of a foot, and gentle valley of waist between upper torso and hips – or even as a canvas on which to reflect creativity and expression through the wearing of jewellery or the inking of tattoos. But after this first inspection, there is more to be found.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bare Skin – Traci Ultsch

These are images that are both intrinsically feminine and beautiful layers in interpretation. Take Traci’s pieces for example. The use of the cat subliminally reminds of of female grace a poise – and also of a woman’s power. Just look at Cat Cat Cat; the kitty may well be stretching and yawning, but the entire image carries a marvellous subtext of I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar. Similarly, the use of tattoos speak both to the ideas of creativity and expressionism / individuality mentioned above, and also to ideas of tribalism –  and with it humanity’s long history; a history in which all successive generations have all be born of Woman.

Similarly, Dido’s images speak to grace and beauty – and also to confidence and power.  Within them lies a statement that women need not fear that their only value lies in their looks and figure, nor do they need to compete through trappings of power dressing in order to demonstrate male-like assertiveness. A woman’s power comes from within; it matters not whether she is dressed or naked – it is simply there, as natural and admirable as any line of mouth or curve of breast.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Bare Skin – Traci Ultsch and Dido Haas

An engaging and visual mini-exhibition well worth taking the time to see.

SLurl Details

Daantje Bons: Art and statement in Second Life

Nitroglobus Gallery: I Have to Show You Something

Note: The art exhibition described in this article contains images that might be considered as sexually suggestive, with some also including female nudity.

I Want to Show You Something is the title of the latest exhibition mounted by Dido Haas at her Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, and once again it presents something that is unique to Second Life, whilst also marking the second time in the gallery’s history that art from the physical world has been place on exhibition.

A collaborative installation, I Want to Show You Something features the images of Dutch photographer Daantje Bons, presented through the use of projected images created by Venus Adored to give the illusion of 3D pieces embedded in the walls of the gallery.

Nitroglobus Gallery: I Have to Show You Something

For this reason, it is essential that visitors have their viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) option enabled (Preferences → Graphics → ensure Advanced Lighting Model is checked), otherwise the art will not be rendered (note that, in difference to the instructions provided at the landing point, you do not need to have Shadows enabled to view the installation; however, I would suggest setting your time of day to Midnight).

Based in Utrecht, The Netherlands, Daantje Bons is a highly regarded photographer whose work is prominently featured in Dutch newspapers and magazines such as De Volkskrant, NRC Handelsblad and LINDA, and internationally in the likes of VOGUE Italia, FRAME, Kurier and Huffington Post, as well as being displayed in galleries across Europe.

The playful subversiveness and pleasing aesthetics of Daantje Bons’ fine art photography draw the eye, but the inherent contradictions make these images resonate and linger in the mind.

– Meredith Greer, writer

Nitroglobus Gallery: I Have to Show You Something

Her style is perhaps best described as Contemporary Feminist, her approach that of presenting her own femininity or re-imagining femininity with a sense of provocative humour and a sexuality; their presentation and apparent contradictions intentional as a means of both capturing attention and encouraging the observer to think more deeply about the subject presented within each piece.

This is all plentifully evident with I Want to Show You Something, a selection of 14 primary images around the walls of the hall, with three “collage” style of image projections to be found in a floating ball and cube, and via a “well” projected onto the gallery’s floor. These are all pieces that may well cause some discomfiture with the more conservative mind and raise smile in the more salacious, simply because of their overt sexuality.

Bons’ images are surprising, funny and often risqué — like a guide to puberty mixed with an untrustworthy recipe book with a surrealist twist

– Priscilla Frank, Huffington Post

Nitroglobus Gallery: I Have to Show You Something

The latter takes multiple forms, some obvious (flowers over the female genitalia), a raspberry covering a nipple, a string of pearls held between lips and tongue; other are possibly more subtle: petals held between lips; a chilli sliced partially open … all resonate with the observer, even if one may feel that sense of discomfiture. But these are not just pieces to provoke; they are in many respects self-exploration – what does it mean to be a woman? How doe masculinity and femininity affect how we see / express our sense of self?

Rich in content, sometimes swaying towards double entendre I Want to show You Something is an exhibition that operates on two levels, and you can learn more about Daantje’s work through her website.

SLurl Details

Taking in an American Shot in Second Life

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

Update February 2nd: part 2 of American Shot is now open at Nitroglobus.

Opening today at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas, is the first element in a two-part exhibition entitled American Shot, by Milena Carbone.

Both Nitroglobus and Milena have reputations for presenting and creating thought-provoking exhibitions that challenge perceptions and thoughts; and in this exhibition, we have one of the most expansive and provocative installations I’ve seen within Second Life. For her canvas, Milena essentially takes the entirety of human history, using it to outline the rise of civilisation – notably western civilisation – and the corruptions that have inevitably followed, with a focus on the American Empire.

To  say American Shot is richly layered would be an understatement; truth be told it is a complex piece that, for some at least, might make for uncomfortable viewing, given it is exceptionally timely in its presentation, indirectly touching, as it does, on events that have recently unfolded in the United States.

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

This layering starts with the title of the installation itself. The “American shot” (or plan américain), was a term from French film criticism. It refers to a medium-long (“knee”) film shot used in the early years of cinematography to record a group of characters engaged in complex dialogue,  with all of them visible to the camera, thus negating the need for a more complex (and time-consuming at the time) multiple shots that might otherwise be required were close-ups of individuals to be used. It particularly became a staple of early American western movies of the 1930s and 40s, thus earning it the name.

Within the exhibition, the term refers not so much to the framing of the images, but to the idea that, in the history of world shaping civilisations, it is currently the “American Empire” that holds sway  – is calling the shots -, although it now appears to stand at a junction in its own history, the paths before it leading either to further greatness for the benefit of humankind, the other leading to collapse and decay.

Further layering comes in the form of presentation: for the first part of the exhibition, fourteen out of 28 images are presented; these will be swapped at around the mid-point of the exhibition’s run for the remaining fourteen. Each of these images offers something of a reflection on humanity and / or the American experience, the commentary within them both clear and subtle.

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

The “clear” commentary among the first fourteen images is perhaps best exemplified in Million Dollar Priest, an underscoring of the way in which the Christian religion has been subverted over the decades in America through the rise of the “tele-evangelists” with their messages of godliness being invariably tied to the idea of their own personal aggrandizement through the acquisition of wealth through the concept of prosperity theology.

The inclusion of this image also brings into focus one of the themes that can be found throughout Milena’s art: questioning the nature of God and religion. Nor is it the only one of her themes. Also to be found here are thoughts on the collapse of humanity, the roles of science and spirituality, our perception of fiction, reality and consciousness. Some of the pieces also are relevant to the current US situation in their commentaries on the nature of authoritarianism and the role of violence in  shaping civilisation – again, notably, but not exclusively, Army of Bataclan.

I’ve selected the latter image both to highlight the the point made above, and because it encompasses another element of the pieces here: a neo-classical linking of modern civilisation with the great empires of the past. These are again both somewhat clear in places, and elsewhere subtle, with some also layered in broader references. The mirage of democracy, for example, reminds us that the democratic ideal has been the goal of western civilisation – but is something that can easily be subverted (as seen with the Rome Empire and, again, the events in the United States of the first week of January 2021).

Nitroglobus Gallery: American Shot

Much more awaits discovery within this installation, including a a book that helps chart the way through the images and Milena’s ideas in American Shot. Rather than forming a simple expositional piece, however, the book actually forms an integral part of the installation, offering categories for the images that help with their context as well as a story that brings together Milena’s ideas and focus for the installation. It can be found for sale both at the landing point for the gallery and at the café, and I recommend visitors consider purchasing it.

There really is a lot to unpack within this exhibition, as such a visit is highly recommended – as is a return when the second group of images in unveiled (all 28 are contained with the accompanying book), something I’ll be doing later in the month. As such, I’ll finish her by pointing out the official opening takes place on Monday, January 11th at 12:00 noon SLT.

SLurl Details

Sensation & Perception in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Sensation and Perception, Monique Beebe, December 2020

Monique Beebe returns to Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas for the gallery’s final exhibition of 2020, entitled Sensation & Perception.

Monique – Moni to her friends – is one of my favourite artists when it comes to narrative avatar studies;  her work is richly evocative, sometimes provocative, and always fascinating to read and admire. Such is the richness of her work, Moni has been a semi-regular at Nitroglobus over the last few years, and it is always a pleasure to see her work there. However, for this exhibition, she presents something a little bit different; a series of images that challenge her and those of us who view them, as she explains:

The aesthetic experience is more a matter of emotion and feeling (sensation) than of the subjective image which we create in our heads of what we see (perception). In other words you can be ‘touched’ by an image, a feeling you have, before you interpret the story shown on the image …
In that same way this exhibition Sensation & Perception is made. It’s not like my usual artwork where I try to capture emotions in a face. This time I moved outside of my comfort zone to create art that I leave to the observer to respond to through their own sensations and perceptions.

– Monique Beebe on Sensation and Perception

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Sensation and Perception, Monique Beebe, December 2020

The result is a series of avatar studies, some of which might be considered not suitable for work (NSFW), others of which are richly layer via post-processing to offer a finish that is very different to many of Moni’s previous works, and which by doing so, particularly evoke sensations on a physical level as well as visuals by suggesting we might actually run fingers over their uneven surfaces in order to appreciate them through our sense of touch.

As per the title of the exhibition, all of the pieces presented generate an initial response that is guided by our senses – that initial wash of emotional response that may see us drawn to one image whilst perhaps stepping back from another. But so too, they challenge us to look again, to view them more deeply, and allow our perception to see past our initial reactions and let each piece tell its story as we study it more deeply. Again, as Moni notes:

Everybody has a different sense or perception: for instance when we see an image of a face with wrinkles we can get touched by the emotion of that face and we automatically assume it is an old person we see. But maybe we also see something different in it, like a person who went trough a lot, who suffered and/or lived in pitiful circumstances.

– Monique Beebe on Sensation and Perception

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – Sensation and Perception, Monique Beebe, December 2020

This makes Sensation & Perception one of the most engaging exhibitions by an artist who has a deserved reputation for producing art that engages the eye and mind.

SLurl Details