miu miu miu’s Stamp in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – miu miu miu’s Stamp, July 2021
Miu miu miu (miumiumiusecond) is an artist who – I believe I’m correct in saying – tends not to exhibit to frequently within Second Life, preferring, as many do, to use Flickr as the medium to present her work.

What is striking about her work – as revealed by even the most casual flip through her Flickr photostream –  is that whether focused on avatar studies or landscapes, whether posed or offered as a “natural” take, miu miu miu’s art is always given a sensitive touch of post-processing that allows her to offer pieces that are evocative of many different genres and presented in different styles – but which are all connected through an undeniable richness of narrative and content.

She is also an artist who is not afraid to express her joy in creating images or to openly publish multiple versions of the same image as she experiments with technique, colour and light. And both of these aspects of her work appear within in the portfolio she currently has offered for display within Dido’s Space at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – miu miu miu’s Stamp, July 2021

Entitled miu miu miu’s Stamp, this is in some respects an impromptu exhibit; Dido explained that she’d been trying to get miu miu miu back to Nitroglobus since much earlier in the year, but schedules and inspiration hadn’t been good enough to align themselves. Then miu miu miu came across a folder of previously unpublished images on her computer, and decided to offer them as a collection to exhibit.

The central focus of the images is that of the COCO ball joint dolls (BJD) avatars produced by Cocoro Lemon and available through her in-world store, with the emphasis on head-and-shoulder portraits. While the doll avatars might not be everyone’s cup of tea, miu miu miu has used them here to great effect, the individual pieces offering what might be regarded as a surprising wealth of emotion considering their construct – and I’d cite in particular Indigo through Turquoise as they share one wall of the gallery as evidence of this, although every single piece carries an emotional depth.

There is also a sense of joy that permeates these pieces, mainly that is transmitted through the post-process colour palette that suggests miu miu miu genuinely lost herself in both the creation of the look, mood and tone of each piece and the the joy of simple experimentation with both the doll avatar and within PhotoShop itself.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery – miu miu miu’s Stamp, July 2021
Captivating, warm and marvellously expressive, miu miu miu’s Stamp also sits as an excellent companion / contrast to Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire within the main hall of the gallery, and with which Stamp currently overlaps (and you can read about here).

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Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire

Sometimes the best art exhibits come from a chance encounter. Dido Haas, owner and curator of Nitroglobus Roof Gallery (and a talented photographer in her own right), bumped into Mihailsk while he was visiting Nitroglobus in March. A couple of days after that first encounter, he posted an image taken at the gallery, which was then displaying Daantje Bons’ work (see here for a review of that exhibition) – and this image led to Dido looking through Mihailsk’s Flickr steam and then approaching him to exhibit at Nitroglobus.

Even so, he took a little persuading. Despite being active in SL for several years, Mihailsk has only recently entered the world of SL photography and artistic creation, as he explains:

Even though I am in SL since 2014, I feel my second life started the day I decided to dedicate a large part of my time in this virtual world to photography. It was [in] January 2020 when I started this beautiful journey in light, colours and emotions; a journey to fantastic places and loved persons, trying to capture special moments in eternity. Sometimes with a smile, sometimes with pain. 

– Mihailsk describing his journey into SL art

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire

Given this, Dido’s invitation marked the first time he has been asked to display his art in-world – which can be a daunting prospect for an artist-photographer, even when well-established on a site like Flickr. Hence the title for this exhibition: Baptism of Fire.

Mihailsk’s work is probably best defined as avatar-focused; a term I use in preference to the more usual “avatar study”, because while a fair portion of his work does focus in on an avatar (either his or that of a friend) in order to frame a story, he also frequently sets his canvas much more broadly, framing an image that blends avatar and surroundings into a richly layered composition that is utterly captivating – as can be seen time and again throughout his Flickr stream.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire

He is also an artist who uses a variety of styles to express his work, from full colour, to gentle tonal work through to monochrome, with techniques that touch upon sepia colouring, chiaroscuro, post-processing and digital layering. The result of all this being pieces of great visual depth.

Given this, there might be a temptation to pull together a multiplicity  of styles and display them together; instead, Mihailsk has focused on presenting pieces that focus on black-and-white / monochrome, and which also fold into them elements of  silhouette art, chiaroscuro and minimalism that very much help to focus on his use of emotion in his art. In this he also differs from many other SL artists, who often construct their images to frame what amounts to a pre-determined emotion that they wish to convey to their audience. Instead, Mihailsk frames his pieces in a manner more designed to convey the emotion he felt within a scene or setting; thus they become windows into his feelings and outlook.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Mihailsk’s Baptism of Fire

The above all said, given the sheer depth and beauty of Mihailsk’s art, I admit I would have perhaps liked to perhaps see some of his colour art included here, simply because it is equally emotive. But make no mistake, what is shown within Baptism of Fire is utterly engaging and a more than worthy display of art from an exceptionally talented individual. and as well as visiting, I encourage you to also take the time to peruse his Flickr stream; you will not be disappointed.

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Anja’s Surrealism in Second Life

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Anja’s Surrealism

As a cultural movement, surrealism developed in Europe towards the end of the First World War, and is best known its visual art, music and writings that offer the juxtaposition of different realities to challenge the eye and the mind.

In terms of art, those embracing the movement initially tended towards scenes and settings that could appear unnerving – or at best illogical – that could bring together the ordinary and the extraordinary, the approach intended to allow the artist’s subconscious to express itself more than their conscious processes. Thus, pieces often feature the elements of surprise and that of and non sequitur, which tend to become the focus of their art when viewed, rather the being an expression of the philosophical movement surrealism was intended to be.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Anja’s Surrealism

However, when well executed, surrealist art brings together a balance; a joining of the natural with the non sequitur, of colour with form and the subconscious of the artist with the imagination of the observer that is captivating and extraordinary to witness.

This is absolutely the case with the art of Anja (Neobookie), who is the artist of the month for June 2021 at Nitroglobus Roof Gallery, curated by Dido Haas. On display is the most stunning exhibition of surrealist art it has been my pleasure to witness, one that fully embraces the core principals of the movement whilst encompassing broader photographic and artistic techniques and commentary.

Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Anja’s Surrealism

Through her work, Anja is able to touch on subjects in her images in a way that is entirely non-directive. Take Free Willy, Survivors, and Wrong Shipping for example, with their subtle suggestions of our relationship with the world around us.

Elsewhere might be found commentary on the human condition – life and relationships – and an embracing of technique such as fata morgana and chiaroscuro that is simply captivating. But, and at the risk of repeating myself, it is important that you do not try to directly seek meaning in these pieces – rather allow them to talk to you, a Anja herself notes:

Do not try to understand all of the images shown, but just let them affect you. Even after two rounds of wandering, are you able to discover a pattern? Is there a common theme or common thread? Crazy, crazier, craziest seems to be the only connection and thing in common in this colourful collection of ‘Anja’s Surrealism’.
Nitroglobus Roof Gallery: Anja’s Surrealism

So, do take the time to drop into Nitroglobus through June and let Anja’s Surrealism to whisper its words to you.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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