An Art Walk + 3 in Second Life

UASL, September 2022: Roxksie Logan

It was back to the ever-evolving United Artists of Second Life (UASL), the community “for artists … by artists”, for me at the start of the week to catch-up on a couple of art exhibitions there, both of which opened this month: the Art Walk and the respective work of a trio of artists who are being exhibited together at the UASL’s Galerie Principale.

Presented by Michiel Bechir, Art Walk offers the work of Blip Mumfuzz, Elfwym, Georgie Iceghost, Harlow Isabelle Stoop, Jamison, Karly Kas, Mara Telling, Owl Dragonash, Susietea, and Violette Rembrandt (Myra Wildmist is listed on the invite note card, although I didn’t find any of here work along the walk), all of whom present four images apiece located in a open-air lawn sitting between the futuristic building of UASL’s galleries and supporting buildings.

UASL, September 2022: Art Walk

Ranging from landscape images captured within Second Life to animal studies from the physical world, to digital paintings, Art Walk is an easy-on-the-eyes exhibition that brings together a wealth of photographic, painting, and post-processing styles and techniques, with visitors able to wander around the lawn and viewer each artist’s quartets of images at their leisure, with bio givers alongside the works present the chance to learn more about each of the artists.

Occupying three of the floors within UASL’s Galerie Principale are a trio of exhibitions by BijouxBarr (ground floor), Nodome (second floor) and Roxksie Logan (third floor): three very different artists brought together in a trio of exhibits which are individually and collectively engaging to the eye.

UASl, September 2022: BijouxBarr

Within her section, Bijou presents a selection of art in two parts. To one side is a set of landscape paintings. Bright, their colours in places almost over-saturated, these are pieces that breathe life through their colour. Across the hall, are eight images of an altogether different nature – portraits, both human and animal, and fantasy pieces. Containing their own tonal quality that is completely distinct from the landscapes, these are marvellous walks through the imagination.

Nodome is an artist whose work I don’t think I’ve encountered before – more is the pity – as she has much to say, both through her art and in words. These are pieces ranging from the sexual (if not conventionally so), through the abstract to the expressionist. Each has a richness of narrative rippling through it.

UASL, September 2022: Nodome

Roxksie Logan is an artist whose work I’m very familiar with, and whom I’ve always enjoyed for her ability to offer images and installations that challenge perceptions and thinking. Here, on the third level of the gallery she presents the most captivating of digital images (as per the image at the top of this article). Rich in colour, enfolding elements of fantasy, cyberpunk, science-fiction, and with a look and tone that is fanciful, alien and familiar – all by the same measure, these are a tour de force of digital artistry at its finest.

Both Art Walk and the display at Galerie Principle sit as just two among the gathering of galleries and art spaces that being UASL to life. As such, when visiting, do take the time to explore and visit the other exhibitions awaiting discovery – or better yet, take the time to make several visits to explore UASL properly, if you’ve not previously done so.

SLurl Details

Note that Karpov is rated Moderate.

Samaniego Art in Second Life

UASL: Samaniego Art

Opening on November 12th at a gallery space provided by the United Artists of Second Life is a fascinating and highly engaging exhibition that offers a small insight into the work of two artists from the physical world whose work is simply remarkable.

Presented by Bijoux (BijouxBarr – herself an artist), Samaniego Art is a collection of paintings by her mother and grandmother, which is being presented in Second Life with the artists’ full permission. The art on offer is primarily presented as digital prints of watercolours that art startling in their realism and accuracy whilst simultaneously presenting the journeys of the artists to the Middle East and within their home country, and starling life studies.

Most of the images are offered in pairs in around the gallery that have clearly be set out as such, allowing us to visit Manila and witness the beauty of its architecture (San Agustin Church and the El Hogar Building) or appreciate a more distant view of the city’s skyline before travelling onwards to enjoy the pools of the Estrella Falls on the island of Palawan and / or further afield to explore the streets of old Jaffa (Yafa) in Tel Aviv, Israel.

UASL: Samaniego Art

Also to be found are the vibrant richness of life studies that bring the power of dance, the serenity of a lake and the beauty of a bird to life, while rounding out the exhibition is a selection of oil paintings, one paired with the bird the other three hanging together as a eye-catching trio among a hall of eye-catching pieces that carry with them a depth of realism that is genuinely exquisite.

Drawing on a variety of influences such as the great Romantic painter Joseph Mallord William Turner through to modern artists such as Andrew Tischler, these are pieces that will genuinely grace any Second Life home. In this regard, while the pieces at UASL are not offered for sale, prints can be obtained via the Samaniego Art Gallery at Campbell Coast.

UASL: Samaniego Art

The UASL exhibition formally opens at 11:00 SLT  on Friday, November 12th, with music by Bsukmet.

My thanks to Owl Dragonash for the hat-trip.

SLurl Details

London Junkers: celebrating American literature in Second life

UASL: London Junkers, Marking the Twain

3D artist London Junkers is a 3D artist unafraid to offer art and thoughts on a broad canvas (so to speak) that encompasses subjects as diverse as the horrors of war (see: Picasso in 3D – Guernica at LEA) to the likes of the history of aviation (see: To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth…). Currently within Second Life he has two installations that stand as celebrations of American literature, one of which recently opened, and the other of which is likely to be approaching the end of its run, and so might be vanishing in the very near future.

The latter of these two installations is Marking the Twain, a celebration of the life of Samuel L. Clemens, the typesetter turned  Mississippi riverboat pilot turned journalist who would become one of America’s most famous writers using the pen-name he appropriated from his days days as a riverboat pilot and under which he is lauded as “the greatest humourist the United States has produced”, Mark Twain.

This is an installation that is both elegantly simple in approach whilst also wrapping within it some very rich imagery, comprising four major parts. The first is at the entrance, where London has penned a story that might have between written by Clemens himself, a telling of the most popular tale of how he came by his pen-name from the practice of  tossing a weight on the end of line to measure (mark) the depth of water beneath a riverboat to ensure it did not become less than the two fathoms (the “twain” – equivalent to 12ft) laden boats tended to require to avoid running aground.

UASL: London Junkers, Marking the Twain

Whether this is true or not is hard to tell – Clemens himself claimed he appropriated the name from Captain Isaiah Sellers the “most respected, esteemed, and revered” riverboat captain on the Mississippi, following the latter’s death in 1863, and who had used it to sign reports on the river’s general condition. But howsoever Clemens came by the name, London’s story is a worthy read.

Beyond the plinths carrying the neatly penned story, a stern wheeled steamer of the kind Clemens would have piloted up and down the great Mississippi River rises from the river’s waters on a powerful blast of air whilst a giant pen dribbles into into the river to form letters that drift on the water beneath the boat’s flat bottom. Together, both flying boat and the dribbling pen and its letters offer metaphors for the two major halves (in his own eyes) of Clemens’ life: his time as a fully qualified riverboat pilot, a career he had dreamed of since his boyhood in Missouri, and his most famous years as the writer Mark Twain.

UASL: London Junkers, Marking the Twain

On the deck of the boat – and able to be reached by ramp offered as a swirling tail of the wail that has lifted it into the air – is the tall, stout figure of Clemens himself. He stands, staring into the face of the wind as it carries his boat aloft, in the white suit and homburg hat that became his trademark dress in later life, whilst clutched between teeth and lips hangs a clay pipe rather than the cigar we might usually associate with him.

Thus the figure, whilst not a metaphor, is offered as a composite to further mark these two sides of his life: the suit marking him as the well-established humourist and writer, Mark Twain, the clay pipe harking to his time as riverboat pilot Clemens.

The final part element of the installation can be found in two parts that directly reference Twain the writer.

The first part is perhaps the easiest to understand. On the bank of the river, and seemingly oblivious to the boat’s airborne passage, sits a boy – “Huck Sawyer”  – quietly fishing. He is by name and nature a conglomerate representation of the two major characters from Twain’s most famous works of fiction. Less obvious, perhaps, is the frog that sits alongside the figure of Clemens/Twain on the deck of the boat. Looking a tad dapper in his top hat and bow tie, he has three three small round pellets before him and while he might look to be merely a piece of decoration, he is not.

For both frog and the pellets reference Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog, a humorous story Twain first saw published to a good deal of acclaim in the New York Saturday Post in November 1865. Less than a month later (possibly to greater acclaim) it appeared under the title The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by The Californian (Calaveras being a county in California). Most significantly of all, perhaps, is the story of the frog became the anchor for Twain’s first full-length book, published in 1867. As such, the presence of the frog and the pellets neatly round-out this celebration of Twain’s life.

Kuidvis Art Space: London Junkers – The Thunderous Train of Air

Meanwhile at the newly-opened  Kuidvis Art Space, London presents The Thunderous Train of Air, another celebration, this time of the life and works of American poet, author and teacher, Ruth Stone.

Again an installation of elegant in its simplicity, this installation takes as its title and encompasses within it the story Stone told journalist Elizabeth Gilbert as to her inspiration as poet, and which Gilbert in turn related thus during a TED talk in 2009, not long before Stone passed away:

As [Stone] was growing up in rural Virginia, she would be out, working in the fields and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. It was like a thunderous train of air and it would come barrelling down at her over the landscape. And when she felt it coming . . . ’cause it would shake the earth under her feet, she knew she had only one thing to do at that point. That was to, in her words, “run like hell” to the house as she would be chased by this poem.

Thus, The Thunderous Train of Air offers a scene set within a open field sitting beneath a sunlit sky, the rural piece of which has been shattered by the drive of wind and the arrival of a great steam train, tracks and all, charging through the crop, driving the young figure of Ruth Stone before it as she desperately chases pens and writing book as they are carried in the wind before her, so she might capture the words as they reach her and set them down indelibly in ink.

Kuidvis Art Space: London Junkers – The Thunderous Train of Air

The proximity of the train to the running figure perfectly  encapsulates Stone’s acknowledgement that when the inspiration came, she would sometimes succeed in her race for home and pens and paper, and capture the words of the poem, whilst other times would see the inspiration “barrel through [her] and continue on across the landscape looking for another poet”.

Nor is the train alone as a representation of creativity. To one side of the installation a tornado-like tower of air turns, a single book at its base,. It carries with it the image of the whirlwind rush, even when home safe, and with pen in hand and paper on table, to get the words down in the order they desire, before their memory fades entirely.

Close to this tornado sits a small stage and a microphone, perhaps metaphors for her time as a teacher and the fact that her poetry has one of the most unique voices of the modern age, combining as it does imagery from the natural sciences with a broader non-scientific intellectualism in a complex, and at times philosophical, dynamic.

And be sure to touch the book at the base of the tornado’s funnel, it offers a poem by London, a beautifully written homage to Stone and her poetry.

Kuidvis Art Space: London Junkers – The Thunderous Train of Air

Both Marking the Twain and The Thunderous Train of Air are presented as monochrome pieces that adds depth to their reflections on the two writers and their writing. They are also installations that should preferably be seen under their intended environment settings and with both Advanced Lighting Model (Preferences → Graphics → check Advanced Lighting Model) and local sounds enabled for the greatest sense of immersion.

SLurl Details

Zia Branner’s Orenda in Second Life

UASL – Zia Branner

Orenda is a term with a number of definitions. Perhaps the most apt is that it is the Iroquois name for a certain spiritual energy inherent in people and their environment.

I’ve no idea if it is this meaning that Zia Branner wishes to encompass in  her new exhibition of the same name at the United Artists of Second Life (UASL), and which opened on June 25th, 2021; however, it is true to say that the paintings she presents are rich in energy and carry all of her spirit as an artist.

UASL: Zia Branner

Working with acrylics and using a variety of structure materials like paste, gel, sand, glue, bandages and paper, and often accentuating parts with oil crayons and ink, Zia always finishes her work with a layer of mat or gloss varnish or binder. All of this gives Zia’s work a sense of depth and life that is captivating – a fact that is further reflected in the way she embraces a variety of styles in her art – still life, abstract, landscape, impressionism, and so on.

All of this can be seen within the pieces Zia presents at UASL in Orenda. In all 17 pieces are on display, running from paintings of animals through studies of the human form to semi-abstracted landscapes. Among these is the titular piece itself, an abstract that is rich in energy and fully embraces a spiritual element through its use and balance of colour.

UASL: Zia Branner

Beautiful in form, fabulous in colour and powerful and / or engaging in content, Orenda is a very visual, engaging exhibition by one of SL’s most engaging physical world artists.

SLurl Details

Of stories, mythology and art in Second Life

United Artists of Second Life: London junkers – ιστορίες

If like me, you enjoy mythologies from around the world, then a visit to the United Artists of Second Life (UASL) is going to be well in order, because it is there that London Junkers is presenting ιστορίες a journey through a selection of stories from Greek mythology. 

Commencing in a the great hall of what might be a temple where a statue of Ariadne in repose, ιστορίες takes the form – appropriately enough – of a journey through a labyrinth of tunnels and passages that connect halls of various sizes in which might be found scenes from the tales London has selected for inclusion within the exhibition.

United Artists of Second Life: London junkers – ιστορίες

So it is that by following the passages one might come across the tales of the Trojan Horse, Pegasus, the Sirens, Pandora and the Charities, Ganymede, and Psyche and Cupid.

Each story is given form through the use of mesh sculptures with additional props, some of which are interactive (touch Pandora’s box for example, whilst (Psyche is presented as a butterfly).

Further stories await explorers in the the tunnels as well; within them can be found the Minotaur, together with the Cyclops, Medusa, and a walk through the realm of Hades and Persephone.

Each story is marked by a small horse sculpture, located just before or just within the entrance to the chamber or tunnel containing it, Touching each of these will offer a note card on the tale. These are well-written and present their information succinctly so that does not overwhelm, whilst communicating the core of each myth.

Beyond the hall with Cupid and Psyche, visitors pass out of the labyrinth and onto the snowy slopes of Mount Olympus where a path winds up to the gods themselves: Artemis (rather appropriately, given the times), Athena and of course Zeus himself, who obligingly provides a teleport back to the start of the installation and the opportunity to explore other exhibitions within the UASL facilities.

When visiting ιστορίες be sure to have your environment set to Midday and that Advanced Lighting Model is enabled (Preferences → Graphics → check Advanced Lighting Model – there is no need to enable shadows as well).

United Artists of Second Life: London junkers – ιστορίες

An engaging and informative installation.

SLurl Details