Sisi’s cityscapes and shorelines in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

It’s no secret that I’m a huge admirer of Sisi Biedermann and her art. The way she is constantly shifting her style and focus means that she offers one of the broadest and most engaging ranges of art to be found in Second Life, and her exhibitions invariably offer something new to appreciate and admire.

This is certainly the case with her exhibition at Raging Graphix Gallery, operated and curated by Liv (RagingBellls). Occupying the upper floor of the gallery, this is selection of art that comes in two parts: within the main are of the exhibition floor are thirteen pieces collected under the title Dusk & Dawn, with five further pieces located at the top of the stairwell leading into the exhibition space.

As the name suggests, Dusk & Dawn presents a mix of images between them representing early mornings and sunsets – although such a simple description does not do these pieces any justice at all. This is a gourmet selection of digital art pieces that mix city skylines and coastal scenes that have a richness of colour and depth that is extraordinary.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

The skylines concerns are pretty much instantly recognisable, with those of New York offering unique takes on some familiar landmarks, whilst the Golden Gate is perfectly framed in a hazy, misty morning sky that many will be familiar with  from film, television and photographs but which is here given a new twist through the use of colour that gives a warmth of colour whilst suggestion of a cool morning.

Meanwhile, within the coastal scenes are views filled with the warmth of sunset that carry the imagination to exotic places with warm seas and long, cool cocktails waiting to be enjoyed before a sunset walk along the beach. There are also images that bring to mind early mornings and times when motor fishing boats might be passing on their way to make their catch, or when we might walk the banks of a river or along the shoreline of a lake as the Sun is just high enough to start burning away the morning mist.

With some of the images finished with a touch of vignette, the use of soft tones and layered to offer an etching-like sense of texture and physical depth, these are genuinely captivating pieces.

Etched finishes are also much in evidence in the five pieces at the top of the stairway. These are taken from Sisi’s collection of digital art capturing the world of garden nature. Each features a central colour – pink, white, green, red and black – all joined by the word Magic. Each is an exquisite collage of colour, beautifully finished and presented.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Sisi Biedermann

It is hard to see Sisi’s art and not become caught up within it, such is the beauty to be found within each and every piece she produces. Miss this exhibition at your peril!

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Abstract expressions in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson

I recently received invitations to visit two exhibitions within Second Life which although unrelated in concept or core themes, are nevertheless linked by genre and technique, both utilising aspects of abstractism in their presentation. Given this, I’ve opted to offer thoughts on both exhibitions through a single article and hope that it will tweak curiosities sufficiently for readers to visit both exhibitions.

Matt Thompson (MTH63) in some ways needs no introduction here; I’ve covered his art on a number of occasions and have appreciated seeing the focus of his work in-world shift. Having built a strong reputation as a Second Life landscape photographer, Matt has, over his last several exhibitions, taken the opportunity to show his physical world art through the platform.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson

So far as I’m aware (and thus subject to correction on this), the majority of these latter exhibitions have been ensemble in nature, Matt sharing the space with a number number of other artists. However, with Abstractia Hugs the Countryside, which opened on on August 15th at Raging Graphix Gallery, owned and operated by Liv (Raging Bellls), his work takes centre-stage in a vibrant pieces that are largely abstract in nature, each of which has its own story to tell.

Rich in colour, largely vibrant in tone, Abstratica presents pieces that range of pure abstract expressionism (Zoom Boom, The One and Only the Brain Knows  through Yea Blah Blah), mixed with a degree of abstract impressionism (The Dangerous Solo Thought and Gateway to Oblivion) to even touch on Fauvism (Get a Tan You Said). The one exception to this is Faith Hope and Charity, a piece that carries a marvellous sense of etched realism even (conversely) though it appears to have its origins from within Second Life.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Matt Thompson

Each piece, combined with its title, gently marshals thought and perception to bring forth narratives that are as wide-ranging as the colours and tones used within each piece. As well as the inkling of a tale, these are pieces which can contain other elements – touches of Matt’s humour for example, which reveal him as an artist who is confident in his work but not in any way conceited about it; others perhaps have a subtle message within them, rather than narrative per se. Again, take Get a Tan You Said again, is there not a comment on global warming sitting within it? Thus, Abstractia stands as an engaging and layered exhibition.

Hailing from India, Neil (lo01ner01) has been active in Second Life since mid-2017, and at Les Halles de Paris Gallery, owned by Darcy Mokeev he offers a collection of images under the title TATHASTH: a monologue, a collection of 28 abstract images in which one might discern multiple narratives that stand both within single pictures and which may also appear to link some of them in theme.

Les Halles de Paris Gallery: Neil
Neil informs us that tathasth is a Hindu word “which speaks of standing back and calmly observing everything with love and detachment” – which very much speaks to Neil’s general approach to his art, and which here offers a frame in which the 28 images are set. All of them are numbered, and to get the fullest sense of flow between them, I strongly recommend taking the note card from the exhibition’s title easels and then viewing the images in their numbered order around the lower floor and then the upper.

On the lower floor are pieces that might be seen as a mix of abstract expressionism and abstract impressionism, their tones and colouring strongly suggestive of mood and emotion. Several of these perhaps most clearly have the sense of narrative running through them, one to the next. The upper level offers pieces that are more abstracted in nature, but which share that sense of mood / emotion through the use of colour.

Tonally, these are “darker” pieces that those offered by Matt in his exhibition – but that doesn’t necessarily translate to dark or brooding moods throughout TATHASTH: a monologue. Rather, what is presented might be be summed up as perceptions of the the physical world (good and bad), as rendered through the filter of the subconscious, something which suggests that whilst abstract in form, these pieces are the product of automatism, rather than directed thought, further adding to their depth.

Les Halles de Paris Gallery: Neil

Abtractia and TAHASTH are, as noted, two very different exhibitions, but between them they demonstrate the richness of expression that artists can use through a chosen genre, particularly one as richly branched as abstractionism. Both are well worth the time taken to visit them, whether you chose to do so individually, or take the time to visit them one after the other.

My thanks to Fen (Fenrue) for pointing out Neil’s exhibition at Les Halles de Paris to me. 

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John and Tempest at Raging Graphix

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang

Currently on show at Raging Bellls’ Raging Graphix Gallery is a joint exhibition by Second Life partners, John (Johannes Huntsman) and Tempest Rosca-Huntsman (Tempest Rosca) entitled Yin and Yang.

It’s a title that reflects both the art on display and the artists themselves on a number of levels. At its most literal, the title reflects the fact that whilst opposites on several levels (e.g. male and female, the fact that they originate on opposite sides of the Atlantic, etc.), Tempest and John naturally combine to form a whole. There’s also the fact that all healthy relationships contain within them the ability to grow and change, for both sides to contribute to the whole – and through their art and other endeavours in Second Life this is very true of John and Tempest.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Tempest Rosca

The title might also apply to their respective art: Tempest’s work is primarily Second Life focused, with a strong – if far from exclusive – lean towards avatar photography; John’s palette tends now to be a strong mix of art produced in the physical world that is then brought into SL. Thus, like yin and yang, there is a strong mix of what may appear to be different or even contrary forces (physical vs. virtual), which ultimately comes to form a whole.

This is certainly the case within this exhibition. With images presented exclusively in monochrome – again, something that might be a reflection of the black / white symbol of yin / yang – the pieces displayed here form a contrast that comes together towards the centre, allowing both halves of the exhibition to be seen as individual displays by individual artists, and also as a unified whole presented by a couple.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Tempest Rosca

For her part and along the outer walls of the gallery, Tempest presents a series of images that have been taken in-world. Whilst they can be considered portraits, in difference to my statement above concerning her work, they are not of avatars but of objects – cars,  a lifebuoy, a tram and a Hawker Hurricane.

Inanimate they might be, but thanks to their black-and-white nature, lines stand out clearly, giving each of her subjects a depth of life much as the lines and creases found on a face speak to the life within it and experienced by it.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Johannes Huntsman

Across the hall, John offers a collection of quite marvellous abstract and abstracted pieces, some of which appear drawn / painted and others produced with digital tools. All  are striking in their form, with a sense of the dynamic presented through line and shape, and that sharply contrast with the more familiar subjects found within Tempest’s images.

Also to be found within several of these pieces is an organic element:, form the flow of a liquid substance complete with spheroid droplet, through the creation of a human face within the sweep of line and the patchwork of light and dark, to suggestions of crops and a desert seen from above, the former being brushed by the wind, the latter left as ripples formed by the winds of the past. Thus, these pieces also give a sense of life within them, and in doing so, they create a natural flow before the two halves of the exhibition, unifying them.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Yin and Yang – Johannes Huntsman

Having opened on February 6th, I believe Yin and Yang has a further week or so to run, and recommend a visit.

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ZackHerrMann at Raging Graphix

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

LIV (Raging Bellls) recently expanding her Raging Graphix Gallery with a new skybox exhibition area featuring a special exhibition by the master of psychedelic art, ZackHerrMann.

Hailing from France, Zack has a passion for art that dates back to his early years, and which has been influenced in a wide variety of ways – including by the likes of Marvel comics, the performance artistry oft found within LGBTQ communities and within the rock music scene. He studies art of a number of years, and had hoped to specialism, but freely admits higher  education in art (as with all subjects) can be prohibitively expensive.

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

As a result, he became very much self-taught in terms of developing his own style and approach to art, as he also notes with disarming candour, touching on some of the influences on his work as noted above:

So, I started to discover night life, especially in the LGBT Community, touching on the worlds of drag queens and other creatures of the universe. Then I discovered the power of creation using a computer and graphics tablet, using PhotoShop. with these tools I felt reborn, free to recreate a persona based on a childhood character I made called Linda Cluster. This persona is a celebration of all that I love about the rock music culture, and is a nod to the musical artists I admire: Nina Hagen, Kate Bush, Cyndi Lauper, Bjork, and so on.
It is Linda Cluster’s work that I focus on presenting in SL, because its probably the more advanced works that I’ve done in RL.

ZackHerrMan discussing his work

The result of all of this are pieces that are rich and vibrant, frequently animated and carry a wonderful depth and life. wtached over by a figure whom I assume is a representation of Linda Cluster.

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

Within the skybox at Raging Graphix, all of this is marvellously brought into focus. The two-roomed are is not large  but it perfect for housing the selection of art Zack displays.

These are pieces which – while “psychedelic” might be the term he uses to describe himself and which are vital in their colour and depth – also carry within then themes that might also be considered spiritual and / or cosmic. Within them are pieces that suggest living mandalas, whilst other perhaps suggest the tree of life, whilst other contain heavenly (as in cosmic rather than religious) themes.

An important not to keep in mind when visiting is that Zack makes extensive use of projectors to give some of his pieces their depth. As such, if you are to fully appreciate attending this exhibition, it is essential you have Preferences → Graphics → Advanced Lighting Model enabled (you do not need to enabled shadow rendering as well, so the performance hit shouldn’t be too great).

Raging Graphix Sky Gallery: Zack Herr Mann

A visually impressive and and engaging exhibition.

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Tresore’s Impressions in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Tresore

Now open as the end-of-year exhibit at Raging Graphix Gallery, curated by Raging Bellls, is Impressions, a selection of pieces by Tresore Prada Hawkins (Tresore).

I first became familiar with Tresore’s images through her involvement in the Phoenix Artists Collaboration, and admit to being attracted to her work, which mixes both landscape pieces and avatar studies – the latter in particular always framing a narrative or message.

Presenting some seventeen images, Impressions follows through on its title in a number of ways,all of which combine to capture and hold the observer’s attention. First, they are obviously statements of the impression Second Life has on Tresore as both an observer of the virtual world and as an artist; they allow us to see the things that have attracted her eye and caused her to create a memory of them. Secondly, they allow her to offer a story for any of the given scenes she has captured, either directly through the image itself or through the suggestive nudge of the title to a piece; so they might be said  to offer us an impression of both setting and the artist as a storyteller

Raging Graphix Gallery: Tresore

On a third level, they offer us an impression of how Tresore views the changing seasons of the year, with the selection of pieces, whether through their depth of colour or through other hints, offering us glimpses of summer, autumn (and harvest) and – most notably – winter (and the holiday season). Finally, and most importantly, there is within each an every piece, an impression of mood / emotion / feeling that reaches out to make each of us not just a witness to Tresore’s art, but also a part of the story waiting to be found within each image.

I say “most importantly”, because while many photographers are taken by a scene, finding its evocative nature as a door to them framing a narrative or to presenting a mood or feeling within a stated pose  / presentation, Tresore is one who starts with the idea of what she’d like to say, and work from there, as she explains:

I have found in SL photography a perfect outlet, as it allows to create from scratch what I want to say. I can take up to one week to create one of my pictures. I carefully research the clothing, colours I want to use, objects, scenario, pose.  I Search for the region that suits it best and the light that will create the feeling I am looking for. There is quite a great deal of love, work and time behind each of my images.

Tresore Prada on her art

Raging Graphix Gallery: Tresore

This again gives her images an added depth, further attracting our eye and mind to each piece, and adding an additional attraction to any visit to Impressions.

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Ladmilla and Eli’s Enigma in Second Life

Raging Graphix Gallery: Ladmilla and Eli

Currently open at Raging  Graphix Gallery, curated by Raging Bellls is Enigma, another fascinating selection of art and words by Ladmilla and Eli Medier.

Working as a couple, Eli and Ladmilla have gained a reputation for their joint pieces – an image (generally by Ladmilla, although Eli does produce his own as well) accompanied by words by Eli. More that just poems and pictures, these are illustrated pieces that encompass thoughts, desires, and reflections on life, love and more, that capture the eye and imagination.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Ladmilla and Eli

As I’ve noted when reviewing Ladmilla’s and Eli’s work, it is a perfect mix of styles: wonderfully layered images created by Ladmilla that have both a tactile richness and also a sense of great depth; and carefully constructed blank verse by Eli that compliment Ladmilla’s images as well as having to stand as poems in their own right.

An interesting contrast that I’ve noted with Ladmilla and Eli in their images is that Ladmilla often tends to lean towards the use of brighter, lighter colours in her work (although not exclusively so), while Eli tends towards cooler, heavier colours. This adds to the richness of the mix of images they can offer, and while Ladmilla does here present a couple of pieces that are of a deeper tone, they still retain a softer brightness within them, this contrast is visible within the pieces offered here, with Eli’s four image intentionally angled to the use of grey and colours that sit perfectly with his words.

Raging Graphix Gallery: Ladmilla and Eli

Enigma will be open through until at least the end of November.

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