art in may

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As always when it comes to new art in Second Life, there’s plenty to see. There are at least three photograph exhibits that opened this month. We also have a new installation, Fade Away, by the ever-productive and talented Cica Ghost that opened on May 5. Cica offers a quote by Bob Dylan as a theme: Some people seem to fade away but then when they are truly gone, it’s like they didn’t fade away at all. As so often when it comes to Cica’s work, we are not provided with any kind of extended artist statement from her end. But it doesn’t really matter, of course, as we can certainly derive our own interpretations from what we see. Fade Away comes in various shades of grey. Almost completely black trees, other kinds of dark vegetation, massive grey rock formations, as well as groups of solemn, hooded figures that are dispersed throughout, lending this space a feeling of hopelessness. There are single figures standing around too, some of them appear close to transparent, perhaps hinting at the passing of life. There are clocks dispersed throughout, indicating time, or, a loss or lack of time. Segments of fences are placed throughout, maybe suggesting a division of sorts. As commonly seen in Cica’s work, we also have little scenes scattered throughout, inviting us to take a closer look in order to find meaning. It seems this installation deals with questions about mortality and relationships, the passing of time perhaps, but I am not sure. These are just some feeble attempts from my part to make sense of it. Head over and take a look for yourself at this dark and very beautiful exhibit.

There’s a new exhibit, a Romance in Brooklyn, by Isa Messioptra, at Mirage Gallery, that opened yesterday and will be open for the next month. This is a great little gallery, set on the sim Mirage, owned and curated by Nicasio Ansar. The space itself consist of a maze-like set up of metal structures with divisions, a great back-drop for this playful exhibit by Isa. There are twelve large color images part of this show; with names like let him do the guessing, ….“only one drink though,” share a cab, and ok 3 drinks, each and every one of these photographs is subtly seductive and only leaves the viewer wanting more. Bravo Isa, a cool and sexy exhibit with great energy. A breath of fresh air for sure!

One of my all-time favorite Second Life artists, Sina Souza, has a new exhibit, Mental Levels, at MetaLES, curated by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar. Sina, who started producing art in the virtual world in 2012, also has her own gallery, Mind Factory. The images in the current exhibit at MetaLES are displayed in large black boxes, all positioned on different levels. I counted eleven boxes altogether and each level connects with stairs. The photographs contained in them are bold and strong. To me they feel like they have been painted, but they have not. This artist often addresses in her work societal issues and we see some examples of this here with works like democratic suicide or in the tact of society. A wonderful exhibit Sina, and it is great to see you work in-world again.

Finally, I just had to make a last stop to check out the exhibit by Magic Marker, curated by Sorcha Tyles, at the Artful Expressions Gallery. I believe this is the first exhibit by the talented Miss Marker. This show consists of nine photographs; one in black and white and the rest in color. Magic uses in her photographs vibrant colors, captivating poses and props which she combines to achieve a unique expression that is easily recognizable as hers. Her work is energetic, fun, and full of passion.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Le serpent qui dance

For the past few weeks I’ve been completely caught up in finishing a collection of photographs for an upcoming exhibit at Itakos. The exhibit, The Dancing Serpent, inspired by the poem with the same name by Charles Baudelaire (Fleurs du Mal, 1857), is curated by Akim Alonzo. The opening is this Sunday, May 14, at 1:30PM SLT.

Baudelaire’s poem Le serpent qui dance is playful, filled with erotic symbolism and metaphor; it is an ode to desire and longing, no doubt, sexual and otherwise. It consist of nine parts. As the themes for my ten photographs I picked one sentence from each part, as well as the name of the poem itself. There are at least twenty translations of Le serpent qui dance; I ended up choosing the version by William Aggeler, translated in 1954.

Putting together this exhibit led me down a path of self-examination. I came up against content issues where I questioned my use of the female subject as a nude. I realized finally that adding a male subject in some of the images would add a much-needed tension. Also, during the weeks that I worked on this virtual world project I simultaneously had several deadlines in real life that needed to be met. I had to seriously consider the importance of time and how it was spent. I reached the conclusion that the process of creativity, regardless if in real life or virtual life, could only aid me in the sense that it provided a welcomed escape from too much thinking. Lastly, I questioned the meaning of the virtual world Flickr photography itself.

About virtual world Flickr photography then. I showed my ten completed photographs to several friends, all of whom I respect in part because they are talented virtual world photographers who I know will not hesitate to offer constructive criticism. I was pleased with their feedback and, yes, relieved, because like so many others, I never really know if my work is any good. I then showed the images to a friend who is a real life photographer, but does not himself have a Second Life Flickr account. He simply refused to comment. Once I got over his frustrating lack of response, I started pondering what some of his reasons for not commenting may have been. He did not want to offend me with negative feedback, could it be that simple? His only observation, which was something like “everybody on Flickr will love it,” referred to the fact that nude virtual world images receive a disproportionate amount of attention on Flickr? Or could it be that he had actually failed to comprehend that a photograph is a photograph, regardless if taken in real or virtual life? I don’t think I will ever know, but I believe this perhaps nicely illustrates a common reluctance of “real life” photographers to embrace and accept the newness and, yes, modernity, of virtual world Flickr photography. If I sound defensive, it is because I am. But it is not about my work, it is about feeling protective of virtual world Flickr itself. Because rarely in my life have I seen as much creative talent in one place as I have seen there.

This post ended up being much longer than I thought, lots of rambling here. Thank for reading all the way through if you did. Also, and finally, thanks to Akim, an excellent curator, for asking me to show at your beautiful gallery. Thank you also very much to Tutsy Navarathna and Huck Hax for posing; I honestly can’t think of two more patient posers. Thanks to pose makers Del May (Del May Poses) and Olivia LaLonde (Le Poppycock) for your incredible poses, without them, these images could never have been produced.

Poster created by Akim Alonzo

L’intangible

I told my friend this morning that I will cut down on blogging. I just don’t have the time for it anymore. But here I am again, writing the second post for today. Oh well. Inspired by an incredible photo posted on Flickr, go! go! little ship! by Sare, I headed over to L’intangable Reve. I am not sure who created it, but believe most likely Iska Poppies in collaboration with Sighwatr Crowbone. This is such a lovely place. You will find here country houses clustered amongst rolling hills, rivers, winding paths, swaying trees, and flowers of all kind. I fell in love especially with the sunflower field and the groups of little red poppies. The interiors of the houses are elegant and inviting. I wanted to stay. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your photos in the Field of Dreams & L’intangible Reve Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

two exhibits

There are two excellent exhibits on the grid, both opening later today. The first one at dathuil, me_you, by moon Edenbaum with Hillany Scofield, curated by Lucy Butoh and Max Butoh (and a little bit by me), takes place at 12 PM SLT. We find here thirteen large photographs in color depicting subjects in various scenes that offer a glimpse into the lives of three characters in a story. moon notes about the exhibit that [a] woman and a man meet. they get closer, eventually they become lovers, but soon their inability to communicate leads to their split. The exhibit is a collaboration between hill.s and moon and next month we will see hill.s’ perspective at dathuil as well. This is a great, fresh concept; the images pull the viewers in and leave us wanting more. The photographs are gorgeous and in the typical, and at this point so recognizable, Edenbaum-style; realism at its best. Come join the opening today, and if not possible makes sure to visit before the exhibit closes at the end of the month.

The second outstanding exhibit opening today is at the Itakos Gallery, Subtle Scents of Solitute, by Imani Nayar and curated by Akim Alonzo. It opens at 1:30PM SLT. Let me just mention here again how much I enjoy the layout of this gallery; the austere and non-intrusive space is incredibly suitable for the display of photography (read more here). The exhibit itself consists of thirteen color as well as black and white photographs depicting single subjects. The talented Imani succeeds in combining composition, avatar posing, hues of color and shades, as well as blur, to create a tangible sense of loneliness and/or of solitude in every single image here. Describing her exhibit, she quotes the author Kent Nerburnloneliness is like sitting in an empty room and being aware of the space around you. it is a condition of separateness. solitude is becoming one with the space around you. it is a condition of union. loneliness is small, solitude is large. loneliness closes in around you, solitude expands toward the infinite. loneliness has its root in words, in an internal conversation nobody answers. solitude has its roots in the great silence of eternity. I don’t think I am alone feeling touched by Imani’s work. Her photographs just feels so acutely real.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

two installations

There are two excellent installations to be seen in SL presently; Duality, by Igor Ballyhoo, at Blue Orange, and Empty Minds, by Romy Nayar, on MetaLES. The former just recently opened, the latter has been up for a few weeks already. Let me just comment briefly here on the art venues as well. MetaLES, an old-timer by now in the SL art world, continues to consistently present us with excellent art. Spearheaded by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, this virtual art space has become a SL classic. I always find myself looking forward what they will show next. Blue Orange, the newish kid on the block, has succeeded to set and maintain high standards for their exhibits as well. I wandered through the gallery today and was impressed by the variety and quality of the art of the current exhibitors Theda Tammas, Igor Ballyhoo, Cica Ghost, Rebeca Bashly, Jarla Capalini, Gitu Aura, NicoleX Moonwall, and Ini Inaka. Bravo to the talented Blue Orange curator Ini Inaka for an art space so beautifully and creatively put together.

Igor invited me to stop by yesterday to check out Duality. A glass stair way leads up to a large build of hollowed-out cement cubes connected by metal pipes.  Contained in this construct is a pair of avatar-sized figures. Surrounding all this is a flow of moving neon text. Igor is a stellar builder, self-taught as many of us in the virtual world, who at this point has reached level of mastery that is hard to surpass. He uses his building skills to express symbolically thoughts about things, often controversial in nature, but not always. The build Duality expresses our conflicting experiences with the virtual and the real. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:

[2017/04/26 12:18] Igor Ballyhoo: it is contemplation of our two existances
[2017/04/26 12:18] Igor Ballyhoo: RL and SL
[2017/04/26 12:19] Igor Ballyhoo: we are one being in our minds
[2017/04/26 12:19] Igor Ballyhoo: yet our common sense make us keep this two worlds separated
[2017/04/26 12:19] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): yeah
[2017/04/26 12:19] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): so it is about the virtual and the real
[2017/04/26 12:19] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): and the two and the one
[2017/04/26 12:20] Igor Ballyhoo: so we are struggling to get out and keep reality
[2017/04/26 12:20] Igor Ballyhoo: yes, it is duality
[2017/04/26 12:20] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): it is and it isn’t though
[2017/04/26 12:20] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): that is why we are so preoccupied with it, no?
[2017/04/26 12:20] Igor Ballyhoo: what do you mean
[2017/04/26 12:21] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): i often find myself thinking both
[2017/04/26 12:21] Igor Ballyhoo: we are struggling to keep two realities separated
[2017/04/26 12:21] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): that the virtual and real world lives are separate
[2017/04/26 12:21] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): but also the same
[2017/04/26 12:21] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): i think we might be talking about the same thing lol
[2017/04/26 12:22] Igor Ballyhoo: yes, work is pretty obvious I think

Head over and check out Igor’s and the other artist’s work at Blue Orange (make sure to set to Midnight and Ultra when viewing Duality). All these exhibits are a feast for the eye.

I revisited Empty Minds today. I had been already when it first opened, but didn’t have time to blog about it then. This is another gorgeous work by Romy; I recognize the set-up, the little scenes with stories, from her previous works. Throughout the hilly, sim-sized layout we find here figures in groups, sometimes by themselves, with large empty bubble heads. They are involved in all kinds of activities, some carry with them lanterns, perhaps to shed light on which path to take next. Romy notes about her work that [i]t is made known that if an idea is born in your empty mind, you must come to disregard it. Nobody knows why. The origin of that idea was lost. Maybe you’ll be the first to have the idea to not to discard your ideas.  This is once again a sublime installation by this talented artist. Head over and take a look and make sure to grab one of the free avatars before you leave.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Hot off the press: Berg by Nordan Art 2016

I am pleased to report here that we finally finished the new Berg by Nordan Art gallery retrospective book, Berg by Nordan Art 2016. This work would not have been possible without invaluable help by the ever so patient Huck Hax. It is always great when done with a big project like this and then spend time looking though what one has accomplished. Reflecting on the past year, I am so proud of what we have achieved with the gallery. The outstanding artistic contributions by Igor Ballyhoo, Livio Korobase, ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦, Imani Nayar, Haveit Neox, Mich Michabo, and Maloe Vansant speak for themselves. Thank you also to some of the many photographers who visited the gallery and took pictures of the art and let us use them for the book; Bay Addens, Midwinter’s Art, NawtyBiker, ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦, Miles Cantalou, and neko Makamori. A special thank you to Tutsy Navarathna who also contributed the beautiful cover photos. We hope you will enjoy the new publication Berg by Nordan Art 2016 as much as we have. You can read it by clicking the link above or visit Berg by Nordan Art in-world where you will find it on the table on the gallery ground floor together with our two previous retrospective publications from 2010-2011 and 2015.

Book cover photograph by Tutsy Navarathna; cover design by Huckleberry Hax

Art in April

In addition to our own exhibits at Berg by Nordan Art, Penumbra, by CapCat Ragu and Meilo Minotaur; MYdigliani by daze Landar and The Other, by Mich Michabo, we have lots of stuff going on as usual in our virtual art world this month. But I will start of with work created outside Second Life in this post, namely the fine art by talented painter and photographer Indigo Claire. I usually don’t blog about non-virtual art here, but I am making an exception because I fell in love with Claire’s pictures. I am so glad she decided to open her own little gallery, .indigo box, in Second Life. Its a very dreamy two-floor exhibit space in a white box, showing 20 images, containing in the center a few clouds with rain, seating, a few poses and some Queen Ann’s lace bunches of flowers. Congratulations Claire, really well done, everybody should head over and visit!

We have a great new group exhibit, The Endless, at Daphne Arts, curated by Angelika Corall and Sheldon BeRgman, that opened on April 8, 2017. Angelika notes about the theme of the show that The Endless are a group of fictional beings appearing in the comic book series The Sandman, by Neil Gaiman, and published by DC Comics. The characters (Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair and Delirium) embody powerful forces or aspects of the universe. The outstanding group of artists contributing to this show are Ariel Brearly, Awesome Fallen, kiki, Maloe Vansant, Nevereux, Paola Mills, and Whiskey Monday. Let me also say here that the gallery space itself gets better and better. I just love the way this pair of curators continuously evolve in the way they consider art display. Great work.

Then we have once again a stellar exhibit at dathuil, this time by Lulu Jameson, as usual curated by Lucy Diamond and Max Butoh, that opened on April 9. I love everything about this show, the images, as well as the set-up. We find here 30 photographs by the talented Lulu, a mix of color and black and white, a selection of studies of avatars and portraits. Lulu provides a quote by Roald Dahl that captures the dreamy quality of his exhibit; And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. The images in this show are carefully displayed, they come in various sizes, all beautifully framed with the title of the photograph noted separately below. Great ambience here, really well done. Head over and take a look before the show closes on May 5.

Last, but certainly not least, we have a new installation, Glass Jars, by Art Oluja, displayed on LEA11. This is a large underwater installation, filled with places to explore. Art describes this work as follows: This is an experiment in containing thoughts, emotions, and memories into visual and aural landscapes for you to explore. I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I have creating it. Much of the inspiration for Glass Jars comes from G. Bachelard’s “The Poetics of Space,” R. Grudin’s Time and The Art of Living,” and a short animation film called “The House of Small Cubes.” Sound is an important aspect at Glass Jars, so please turn your sounds on (and up). All of the soundscaping and musical effects you hear around the region are the result of a collaborative experiment with Klaus Bereznyak, who uses percussion and woodwind to creatively reflect the vision and concept of Glass Jars. We used Audacity, a free open source digital audio editor, to manipulate the sounds before uploading them inworld. They are layered across the landscape in a way that the experience becomes uniquely different to each person, depending on how you explore the installation. These organic expressions literally echo the metaphors and emotions of the work. The rain washes over you, tapping away your thoughts, the wind inhales your uncertainties. Take a deep breath, dip into the water. and drift away under the tides. Head over and take a look and be prepared to spend some time exploring this underwater space. Region windlight is suggested for optimal experience.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

The Last Forever

The Last Forever is a new destination inspired by Marfa, TX from the creators of West of the Rain , Oobleck Alagash and Nodnol Jameson (KraftWork), along with the creative team of Kai Mannequin, Brooke Barmy, Rooky Yootz, Triin, Misty and Jack Hanby. It has been immensely popular amongst Flickr photographers lately, and I headed over earlier in the week to see what the hype was all about. This is such a cool desert place! There is, amongst other things a shabby-looking town (including a shopping center), railroad tracks, asphalt roads, all kinds of desert vegetation, as well as an incredibly well-made camp site. Also, close to the camping site is a laundry/wash room facility. Those of you who know me a little better are aware of my weakness for all things domestic in SL, so you can imagine my delight. This is a really a great place, with wonderful attention to detail and a superb ambience. Head over and take a look and don’t forget to post your photos in The Last Forever Flickr group.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Coming Up at Berg by Nordan Art

Time flies, it seems. We have already come to an end of the first exhibit period for photography shows in the gallery. Many thanks to Huck Hax for the exhibit lacrimioare; I have received feedback from so many visitors who adored the show. The gallery will now be closed for a week as we are setting up a new exhibit by daze LandarMYdigliani, which will be on display for the next three months. The opening is on Sunday, April 9, 2017 at 10AM SLT and as usual our Nordan Art DJ Eif will provide tunes. The time has also come to bid farewell to the old gallery building, a build I put together myself a few years ago. The Berg by Nordan Art gallery will now instead be housed in space by Abiss that I think is incredibly well suited.

The installation Penumbra, by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu, will be up for another month or so and then replaced by a new installation by CapCat and Meilo. The Amona Savira Memorial, put together by Senna Coronet, and part of Penumbra, will be taken down in May as well. The same is true for Mich Michabo’s The Other , which is on display in Gallery M; a new show by Mich is in the works and will also open some time in May. The gallery retrospective book Berg by Nordan Art 2016 is close to going to press and we hope to publish within the next few weeks.

We have seen blog posts, Flickr photos, and several machinima about the gallery, as well as received much positive feedback from gallery visitors themselves. Thank you. Thank you also for rating and commenting on the gallery using the Second Life Art kiosk located at the entrance; its rewarding to read the comments you write! As a reminder to new visitors, all parts of the gallery can be accessed from the main gallery in the sky and the teleports are located at the door. Please join our group Berg by Nordan Art inworld for updates and announcements about the gallery. Please post your photos taken at the gallery in the Berg by Nordan Art Flickr group

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Maloe Vansant at Itakos Gallery

Rumor on the street has it that there is a new exhibit by Maloe Vansant. We searched and found that her show Little Pieces of Me opened a few days ago at Itakos Gallery, curated by Akim Alonzo. We had never heard of this gallery and soon realized that it had in fact only recently opened it’s doors to the public. We teleported over and found ourselves in front of a large gray building. The build, by Gully Rivers, is outstanding; the layout, the vast space, the textures, and the minimalist decor provide the perfect setting for a gallery. Currently on display here is Maloe Vansant on the ground floor, Akim Alonzo on the first floor and Imani Nayar, ARnnO PLAneR, Paola Mills and MM (Mysterr) on the second floor. There is an elegant wine and piano bar on the top floor as well. The photographs are beautifully mounted and the space is easy to navigate; one is left with the sense of visiting a gallery or a museum. Bravo Akim, every aspect of this is so very well done.

The images by Maloe I believe have never seen before, whereas the work by the other photographers have all been seen on Flickr. We lingered a bit longer on the ground floor taking in Maloe’s photographs. Her images pull the viewer in, its hard to look away.

[07:28] tutsy Navarathna: both in quality of treatment, light or inspiration and quality of model i love
[07:29] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): yeahh me too, maloe’s pics are usually strong, all of them
[07:29] tutsy Navarathna: all details are very well thought out
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): the photographs also fit well together here
[07:30] tutsy Navarathna: she is a great photographer and she does a great postproduction
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): the display is beautifully done
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): great gallery, for sure
[07:30] Kate Bergdorf (KateBergdorf Resident): i think it is safe to say we are impressed lol

We joined the Itakos Gallery group inworld to make sure we don’t miss any future exhibits. You should too; I think we can expect more great exhibits from this new kid on the block.

Photographs by Tutsy Navarathna and Kate Bergdorf