The art of Isabel Hermano in Second Life

Janus II Gallery: Isabel Hermano – Living in a Steampunk World

I did not intend to write about another exhibition at Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat so quickly after my last arts write-up (see: Sheba’s mystical art in Second Life). however, after witnessing Isabel Hermano’s exhibition at the Janus II Gallery in the region, I could not help but put fingers to keyboard.

Given the breadth of her work that is on display, I’m rather surprised to admit that’s I’ve not previously documented Isabel’s art, as her digital images are truly  captivating to the eye.

Janus II Gallery: Isabel Hermano – Living in a Steampunk World

Although entitled Living in a Steampunk World, the pieces offered through this exhibition feature much more than the style of retro-futuristic images we might normally associate with the idea of “steampunk”; while such elements  – the ideas of Victoriana, corsets, goggles, exotic mechanicals – present in several of the images, so to does the exhibition cast a wider net, capturing retro-modern elements, touches of Fritz Lang and Buck Rogers, hints of childhood, even a glimpse of contemporary science fiction.

This wider casting of the net doesn’t invalidate the title of the exhibition – rather, it enhances it, and offers a new twist.

Take Tinman, with its the image of C3-PO for example: whilst his appearance might bring to mind thoughts of a technologically advanced, spacefaring civilisation far beyond that of our own, his appearance as a “tin man” is not actually that far removed from the ideas of steampunk mechanoids.

Isabel notes that she likes to use bold colours  on account of the depth of passion they suggest, and that use of colour is clearly shown here – and I would argue that its presence in these pieces adds a further dimension to their narrative. And make no mistake, these are pieces rich in their ability frame moments and ideas that capture the eye and transport the imagination in the most marvellous of ways, whether or not the idea of steampunk are central to the journey.

For me, this sense of narrative is particularly strong with Radio City Music Hall, and The Sisters. These are also two pieces that may not immediately appear to be particularly “steampunk” in nature. The first brings to mind the era of Marlowe and hard-boiled detectives, whilst the latter richly mixes ideas. With the three female characters, there is a clear reference to Fritz Lang and Metropolis, whilst the airship above them both suggests steampunk airship – but set against a cosmic backdrop of a nebula cloud, it also carries that Buck Rogers vibe mentioned above.

Janus II Gallery: Isabel Hermano – Living in a Steampunk World

Theses are also pieces that are rich in motif and symbol – the use of animals in several of the more “steampunky” pictures, the juxtaposition of modern technology with suggestions of the Victorian era, mechanical octopuses, and so on that can lead the imagination onwards in it journey – and the eye to the richness of detail within each of these pieces.

Open through until early April, Living in a Steampunk World is a captivating exhibition of digital art.

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Sheba’s mystical art in Second Life

Janus III Gallery: Sheba Blitz – Into the Mystic

When Sheba Blitz first arrived in Second Life, it was without any preconceived ideas about displaying her work.  However, after encountering the vibrant arts communities that exist across the platform she decided to give exhibiting her work a try – and I, for one am glad that she did.

Hailing from Australia, Sheba has studied art in a variety of styles over the years, gaining several diplomas in the process. However, throughout her time as an artist, she has found focus in painting mandalas – which she does so quite exquisitely.

Janus III Gallery: Sheba Blitz – Into the Mystic

For those unfamiliar with it, the mandala (literally meaning “circle” in Sanskrit) is a symbol with very deep religious, spiritual and even political meaning. It may be employed in spiritual guidance, focusing the attention of practitioners and adepts, as a means of establishing a sacred space and as an aid to meditation and trance induction. Mandalas are particularly used in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Shintoism. They also have new age symbolism, and were regarded by Jung as a means to explore “the fourfold nature of the psyche”.

I first encountered Sheba’s work five years ago and was immediately captivated. Specialising in painting quarternity mandalas, she works with gouache, acrylics and metallic paints on either canvas or paper, drawing on sources such as music, books, astrology and tarot symbolism as her inspiration. The finished pieces are all intricately beautiful, endlessly geometric, generally perfectly symmetric, and rich in symbolism.

Janus III Gallery: Sheba Blitz – Into the Mystic

All of this creative, spiritual beauty can currently be seen at the Janus III Gallery on Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat, where Sheba is exhibiting a selection of her work entitled Into the Mystic.

Across the two floors of the gallery one can find the most meticulous pieces of art that are utterly captivating.

Whenever I witness Sheba’s art and and consider the work that went into each piece, I cannot help but be put in mind of dul-tson-kyil-khor (mandala of coloured powders) in Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism. Like those painstakingly constructed sand paintings, there is an inherent balance within Sheba’s paintings in terms of symmetry and harmony that lifts the spirit whilst also speak to the depth of focus on the part of the artist.

Like the work of Tibetan monks, Sheba’s art is rich in iconography that combines geometric shapes and spiritual symbols.

However, unlike the Tibetan sand painting, which is intentionally impermanent, each piece ritualistically destroyed and used as an offering to water and life once the meditation of its creation is complete, Sheba’s art endures well beyond its creation. In this, while sand painting might speak to the impermanence of life and the cycle of creation, Sheba’s art reflects the enduring nature and balance of the cosmos around us.

Janus III Gallery: Sheba Blitz – Into the Mystic

This is art for which images on a page simply do not do justice. Each piece is so rich in form and intricate in detail, Sheba’s work deserves to be seen and appreciated first hand whether you are drawn to the spiritual symbolism of the mandala or simply drawn to art for its beauty and geometry So do take time to drop into the Janus III Gallery before this exhibition ends later in the month.

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The digital mastery of Kraven Klees in Second Life

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

Currently open at the Janus I Gallery at Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat is a truly magnificent exhibition of the art of Kraven Klees which is an truly must-see event.

Working in the digital medium, Kraven specialises in the creation of pieces encompassing a range of techniques –  art, photography, mixed media = whilst also embracing a spectrum of approaches and styles including fractals, abstraction and photo layering, to create pieces that explore the boundaries of what we might consider art to be, and what it means to us personally.

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

As a result, his pieces are both highly esoteric and instantly captivating. There is both a richness of presentation and melding – conscious or otherwise, given the artist notes he deliberately embraces an aleatoric approach to his work such that the final appears of each is a mix of predetermination on his part and circumstance encountered in the creative process – that gives them immediate visual appeal while can be immediately experienced and enjoyed, whilst also calling the eye and mind to look again, and more deeply.

This approach to mixing concious decision with the passage of chance taken by the artist means that while many of these pieces many be linked by a core theme – portraiture, living study, the very richness of colour palette – each and every piece is genuinely unique content, form, colour, style, and expression. This adds enormously to multi-faceted appeal of the exhibition as a whole whilst giving each piece a sense of individual beauty and depth that sets it apart from its neighbours.

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

But there is more here as well; even within those that may appear to be “straightforward” portraits, there are elements that can trigger our emotions and alter our perception. Neural Network, for example, initially appears to offer commentary on the nature of intelligence and our growing reliance on  technology. But a closer examination offers other potentials for interpretation – the potential for, and form of, artificial life; questions on the nature of life  – are we simply little more than the filaments of the brain and the neurons that fires across them? and more.

Alongside of it, Bamboo Man sits as an intriguing study on the human form: flesh, sinews, bone; but at the same time, the entire image in form and colour opens the door to discomfiting thoughts of evisceration and / or hints of Geiger-esque horrors. There is also a certain psychedelic aspect to many of the pieces that comes to us through both the stylised  use of expressive colours and fragmented, fractalised form that heightens our response to them. Like the effects of a drug, they seem to expand our consciousness, reflecting the artist’s desire to increase the dynamic between audience and art / artist.

The Janus Gallery: Kraven Klees

All of this makes The Art of Kraven Klees an exhibition a rich exploration of art, ideas, emotions and outlook. Whether you are drawn into the deeper layering of individual pieces or chose to admire them for their natural beauty and styling, this is a collection that will attract and beguile. As such, this is very much an exhibition that should not be missed, and it will remain available through until the end of the month.

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Eclectic Dreams in Second Life

Sinful Retreat Janus I gallery: Eclectic Dreams

Eclectic Dreams is the title of an exhibition of art that recently opened (January 9th, 2021) within the Janus I Gallery at Chuck Clip’s Sinful Retreat. Featuring Lash VV’s work from the physical world, it is one of the most raw and vital selections of art I’ve come across in recent times.

Hailing from Serbian, Lash VV is an artist whose work tends to focus on a range of themes, including the spiritual, religious and erotic, that can often include motifs that can be primal and / or universal in suggestion, connecting his art to life and the vitality of living. In reflection of this, rather than confining himself to one or two styles of presentation, Lash VV, encompasses a broad range of techniques and styles,  including impressionism, abstraction, hints of fauvism and impasto. At the same time, he freely utilises watercolours, pen and ink paint, acrylic, oil, tempura, and compositing techniques (including digital compositing) to both emphasise and layer his work. 

Sinful Retreat Janus I gallery: Eclectic Dreams

All of these styles an approaches can be gathered under the core umbrella of expressionism in its broadest sense, in that Lash’s art is often a refection of his own memories and outlook on the themes his work enfolds.

In this, the choice of style used within each piece is, I would suggest, an essential part of its interpretation, adding, indeed, evoking, that raw vitality I mentioned at the top of this article. There is not a piece in this selection that doesn’t evoke a sense of life and / or offers an emotive sensation, From very human pieces such as the still life studies Blue Thoughts (which I admit to being the piece I found the most captivating in this portfolio of richly engaging pieces) and Woman in Blue, through to the abstract forms of Initial Frenzy through Passion, the selected technique does as much to bring each piece to life as does the (more usual) technique in using a dominant colour as a means of expression.

Sinful Retreat Janus I gallery: Eclectic Dreams

There is more here as well; in some of the images, the selected technique can give some of the pieces an unfinished edge to them that further adds a degree of life and, with some, brings to mind the work of past masters.

Tor example, take Cognition. Within it, the seemingly rough lines that hint at being hurriedly drawn, point towards Da Vinci pondering the beauty of the human head – and what might go on within it and using a sketch to capture thoughts that occur whilst engaged on other work. At the same time, the subtle use of colour demonstrates the fact that far from being incomplete, the picture is exactly as it is intended to be, a skilled study of art and form, and one reflective not just of a classical genius, but of Lash’s own unique skill – and his own contemplations.

Sinful Retreat Janus I gallery: Eclectic Dreams

With around 29 pieces on display, many of them carefully placed within small groups defined by style so as to present exhibits within an exhibition, Eclectic Dreams is a truly fascinating – dare I say masterful – collection of art from an artist who is, I understand, new to the SL art scene, but whom I have no doubt will be seen more widely as time goes by – and deservedly so.

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