art in june

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There is certainly no lack of art exhibits in Second Life during this first month of summer.  Besides the recently opened The Swamp , by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu, the photograph exhibit MYdigliani by daze Landar, the permanent works at Gallery M by Mich Michabo, all at Berg by Nordan Art, there are several exhibits, as well as at least one major new sim-sized installation, to explore.

My first stop today is at dathuil where we find the exhibit Her and him, by Hillany Scofield, curated by Lucy Butoh and Max Butoh. This collection of photographs is the second part of a collaboration with moon Edenbaum, who showed his exhibit me_you here last month. I think there are sixteen color images here; some of them are very creatively mounted in the ceiling, I got dizzy counting, but I think I got it right. I really like this exhibit by hill.s. Not only do the images beautifully correspond with the works by moon, but they also convey a completely different kind of intimacy. hill.s notes about her exhibit that [o]n a day like any other she walks into that little café on the corner. She knows it`s never crowded at this time of day. when she grabs a coffee and her favorite lemon pie on her way home. But this day is unlike the other days and this man is unlike any other she had seen around here. And his presence felt different to all the others…. Each picture here truly does offer a peek into what feels like a deeply personal moment that is part of a story. There is also something homely about these photographs that I utterly adore. Head over and take a look before the exhibit closes on June 30.

There are two exhibits, one by Cipher and the other by Peep Sideshow, curated by CrankyGrit, in two small galleries on the newly opened sim The GoodLife.  The little galleries are located right after you enter the sim, nested in decayed builds, one on the left and on one the right hand side of the street. Both spaces are intimate, displaying a handful of really good images by each photographer. Looking forward to more art exhibit on this sim, this is a great start.

Sina Souza is showing a collection of her own most favorite photographs at the Art Gallery The Eye. I’ve seen all these images before, but honestly,  I never really tire of Sina’s work. Her painterly surrealist style always leaves me wanting more. Head over and take a look at these photographs, I am not really sure how long they will be up. Make sure to also check out Sina’s new work Mental Levels currently at MetaLES if you haven’t already.

Last, but certainly not least, there is an incredibly complex and beautiful installation, Flash Forward/Flash Backward, by Giovanna Cerise, curated by Dividni Shostakovich, at Split Screen. This is a multi-layered work, consisting of six connected parts; Dream, Point of View, The Desire, Lightness, The Impossible Choice and The Birth.  All parts are accessible either by walking through the build itself or teleporting from one part to another. Extensive information about the exhibit, including landmarks to each space, is provided at the landing point. Wandering through this maze-like structure made me feel like I was part of a dream. There were times when I took a wrong turn and felt lost, but then found my way again. The surrounding flickering, shifting images and colors further contribute to the experience of being in a dream state. Giovanna notes about her work that it encompasses imagery from the past, present and future: Everything appears and disappears, in a game in and out, in the will to create alienation effects, restlessness, suspended in an allusive and visionary atmosphere. In this wandering, however, intimate glimpses appear as flashes that isolate and force them to stop. They are moments of stasis, breaks that interrupt the anxiety of trying. Objects that are reflected or evanescent figures metaphorically produce in the present vague suggestions. The installation, formed for the most part from simple geometric elements , is thus presented as a destructured form, almost shapeless with the intent to create chaotic and changing moments. Inside there are spaces that vanish in the complex but depending on the angle they are perfectly visible. A fantastic show, great in every detail, bravo Giovanna, really. Head over and take a look before the installation closes on July 31.

There are many other exhibits I did not cover here because there is simply not enough time. Let me just mention here though Itakos Art Gallery and DixMix Gallery, both of which always have regularly rotating photography exhibits by great artists. Also, rumor on the street has it that there is a great new group show coming up at UTSA ArtSpace (I know my friend ◦⊱ Mi ⊰◦ will part-take) so please be on the lookout for announcements.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

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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

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

art in october

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There are several exciting art installations and photography exhibits to be seen in SL for the remainder of October, some of them extending into November and December. I spent the morning teleporting around these places and taking some pics. Below is, in no particular order, some of the shows I found noteworthy. There are of course many more exhibits on the grid, there was just not time enough to post them all here.

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Monochrome by Giovanna Cerise at LEA 21 opened a few days ago and will remain open until the end of December. This is a large-scale installation that integrates the colors black, red, and white on three levels. Giovanna notes that [t]he choice of black, white and red was dictated by my passion for these colors that evoke a multitude of contrasting references, in agreement or in continuation with each other. The invitation, then, is to experience the different possibilities of light and ambience offering the virtual world. Single color it takes on different aspects and nuances almost endless and the effects increase and multiply, creating a restless disorientation.  For more information about Giovanna, check out her blog.

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There is an exquisite little exhibit, A Travel Between Feelings, by Joslyn Benson at KaFu Ato gallery at Hafenviertel that will be open until Christmas. This is a collection of seven mostly black and white photographs by Joslyn. I don’t believe these images are new for this show, but it doesn’t really matter. It is always such a feast for the eye to explore the delicate works by this talented artist. Let me also add here that I have really come to like this little gallery. Situated in an odd little grungy area with brothels and all kinds of sex shops, it succeeds in providing an intimate space for art.

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MetaLES, by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar, is split into two parts; one space is in the air, showing photographs and the ground space remains for large installations. In the gallery in the sky, we find the exhibit 5Y SMOKING, by the talented Lan, her first exhibit. And it is a great one where she shows a collection of photographs, all with the theme smoking. Her exhibit will be open until the end of the month. On the ground we find the installation Tumor, by Igor Ballyhoo, which will be open to the end of this month also (see top photograph). It is no secret to my readers that I am a great fan of the work by Igor. I find this installation reminiscent of one of his earlier works, Metamorphosis; a large space filled with parts coming together to create a mysterious whole. Surrealist inspired blood-shot eye-balls and twirling drill-heads are positioned between greenish towers and metal structures. Igor notes about his exhibit that [t]his work is my acknowledgment of greed for material things of human kind which is so powerful that it is going to cost us our own existence. This is not effort to fight it, it is not made in least hope to change anything, it is just a recording of my observation of human society at this pointI dedicate this work to person who unknowingly inspired it, one of the richest people alive, woman who made her fortune on coal digging, Gina Rinehart. Make sure to see these installations before they close in a few days.

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Last, but not least, another first exhibit, Out of Shadows, by Jason phitphanatic, can be seen at the Black Lux Gallery. This is a collection of twelve photographs, all in one way or another expressing the interplay of shadows and light. This is a wonderful first show with well-thought out and finely constructed images, make sure not to miss it before it closes by the end of the month.

Photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Escenas-Scenes: The Time (Scene 1)

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There is a new MetaLES exhibit by Ux Hax and Romy Nayar named Escenas-Scenes. This work consists of two giant subjects, one male and one female, and a few objects. The man stands next to a door holding a lantern, next to him is a tilted table on top of which are a porcelain teapot with teacups and saucers sliding off to the ground. The woman is half-way into the ground, her arms pushing the surface down, seemingly trying to get out of a hole. Her face is distorted in agony, glancing over to the side onto a floor clock out which is extended on a metal piece a large black crow split in half. Next to her, a hand mirror and a brush and a few pearl scattered on the ground.

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The objects here are majestic and large and the sim itself seems to have somehow shrunk with these giants standing upon it. The sense one gets viewing this work is one of time slipping away or perhaps having missed out because of time. The installation appropriately named The Time (Scene 1) is the first part out of four scenes, each will be on display for two weeks on MetaLES.  Each scene is a continuation of the one that came before. Sim windlight and enabling of sounds are recommended. Please keep in mind that each story will only be up for a short period of time so make sure not to miss it. Bravo Ux and Romy, intriguing and unusual, looking forward to the next scene.

First photograph by Tutsy Navarathna
Second photograph by Kate Bergdorf

Best Second Life Galleries 2015

Best Second Life Galleries 2015

Maintaining this blog I visit many Second Life galleries and I thought it might be helpful to compile the galleries that I like the most, with brief descriptions and locations, as a guide and reference. So I have put together a list of the Best Second Life Galleries 2015. It is a completely subjective compilation and I have included both traditional in-house galleries and large sim-installations. Of note,  I am only including places here that exhibit artists on a rotating basis. I may put together a post about permanent art exhibits and installations at a later time. My apologies in advance for not having included all galleries and I also may have missed some that in fact should have made the list. If anyone thinks that a gallery should be on this list, but it is not, please contact me. Many thanks to Tutsy Navarathna and Igor Ballyhoo for consulting. Thanks also to Dirk Wüstenhagen for the texture used for the logo above. Below please find in alphabetical order the Best Second Life Galleries 2015 list.

Name: Avalon Town
Curator/Owner: Tricia Aferdita
About: Multi-gallery complex

Name: Berg by Nordan Art
Curator/Owner: Kate Bergdorf
About: Gallery space and full-sim installation area

Name: Broad Street Gallery
Curator/Owner: Isa Missantropa
About: Gallery space

Name: Crossworlds Gallery
Curator/Owner: Fabilene Cortes
About: Multi-gallery complex

Name: dathuil Gallery of Art
Curators/Owners: Max Butoh and Lucy Diamond
About: Gallery space

Name: Gallery 33
Curator/Owner: Monroe Smithson
About: Multi-gallery complex

Name: Hills Gallery
Curator/Owner: Hills
About: Gallery space

Name: Holtwaye Art Space
Curators/Owners: Holter Rez and Wayne
About: Multi-gallery complex

Name: Lollygagger Art Center
Curator/Owner: Chrissssy
About: Gallery Space

Name: MetaLES
Curators/Owners: Ux Hax and Romy Nayar
About: Full-sim installation area

Name: Nitroglobus Gallery
Curator/Owner: Dido Haas and Nitro Fireguard
About: Gallery space

Name: Split Screen Installation Space
Curator/Owner: Dividni Shostakovitch
About: Half-sim installation space

Name: Tart Gallery
Curator/Owner: Byrne Darkly Cazalet
About: Gallery space

Name: The Galleries (NORTH, WEST, and EAST)
Curator/Owner: Ernie Farstrider
About: Multi-gallery complex

Name: University of Western Australia (UWA)
Curators/Owners: Jayjay Zifanwe and FreeWee Ling
About: Virtual presence of the UWA, hosting art challenges

A Bit of Red

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A Bit of Red by Kicca Igaly and Nessuno Myoo opened at MetaLES yesterday. This is the first time in a long while that I have seen a collaborative installation by these two artists who I know have worked closely in the past. The exhibit is inspired by The Phantom of the Opera, a novel that has been made into a popular film and musicals. Provided at the landing is a notecard with a fitting segment of words; [a] heart and a rose…. the perfect elements, through which it begin a journey that leads to the vision of some fragments in a story of passion and pain… While I haven’t seen the Phantom of the Opera and thus had some difficulty grasping the full meaning of the installation, it ultimately didn’t really matter. This is clearly about love, loss and longing.

A Bit of Red

The foundation of this work consists of large blocks in various geometric shapes. There are two enormous metal pipes attached at the bottom of these. Some of the large shapes are connected. Others are simply in very close proximity and it is easy to fall in between them when walking around. There are large openings on most of the top-surfaces of the shapes, some covered by sturdy metal grids other by glass; one will fall though some of them and not through others. When falling one drops through one of the large metal pipes. It took us a while to figure this out, but eventually we realized that one is probably actually supposed to fall!  The unexpected falling is perhaps part of the installation, contributing to an overall sense of drama and loss of balance. Throughout the space there are groups of objects and figures, symbolizing in one way or another passion, love and loss. The textures used here are beautiful and exquisite and so very typical I think especially of Nessuno’s work. Surrounding it all are several gentle lights positioned on thin wire-like posts. This installation will be open for another two months, make sure not to miss it.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Distrito Distinto

Distrito DistintoThere is a wonderful new multi-artist Anniversary Celebration exhibit at MetaLES that opened this weekend and will remain open until August 13. The title of the exhibit, Distrito Distinto, or Different District, refers to the concept of a traveling art festival inspired by music. And here, a great number of Second Life artists have each created an individualized space that is inspired by a song of their choice.

Distrito Distinto Bryn Oh

The artists represented are Alpha Auer, Giovanna Cerise, JadeYu Fhang, Cica Ghost, Romy Nayar, Bryn Oh, Maya Paris, Betty Tureaud, and Eupalinos Ugajin. I think maybe Rebeca Bashly and Selavy Oh were supposed to show their work too, but I could not find their installations when I was there. This whole concept is truly fun and most of the installations are interactive. Remember to activate the sound in each space as the sim-stream is not activated (each work has its own song). Above is the work by Bryn Oh, inspired by Keep the Streets Empty For Me by Fever Ray and, below, the space by Cica Ghost, inspired by Lullaby by The Cure. Head over and take a look!

Update: Rebeca Bashly’s space is available, it is number 6 on the HUD.

Cica Ghost

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf

Three Installations

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There are so many great art installations in Second Life© at the moment it is really hard to keep up. I will share with you here my impressions on three of them. Many blog posts have already been written about these works and I understand why. All are by well-known talented artists who reliably produce great work and these installations are no exceptions. Please see below for my thoughts on the new installations by Rebeca Bashly, Romy Nayar and Cica Ghost.

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Rebeca Bashly’s installation, When Life Gives You Apples…Run, is sponsored by the Linden Endowment for the Arts on LEA 6. With this work Rebeca addresses women and violence, specifically pertaining to issues surrounding domestic violence and eating disorders. Be forewarned, the entire installation, with its poignant symbolism, stirs one up quite a bit. No Place Like Home (see top image) is particularly powerful reflecting domestic violence. This surrealist inspired piece consists of a heart beating so hard that it tears apart a house. The work is best described with an excerpt from Rebeca’s own note card that can be found next to it; thru the deafening noise of my heart beats i heard cracking of the walls of the house… windows and doors blowing away… and whole house was shred into pieces in one heart beat… it was the most beautiful thing i have never seen. Other parts of the installation, like Doll House (second image from top), depict the eating disorders Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. The parts that come together here to form the whole of this installation are beautifully crafted, touching upon the poetic. The work in its entirety is nothing short of astounding. Bravo. The installation will be open until the end of April 2015.

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My second stop is Sparkys by Romy Nayar, which recently opened on MetaLES and will be open to the public for two months. This is whimsical at its finest! Little platforms on stilts, a woman walking a dog, other figures, small huts, a carousel, balloons and lots of movement all around. But all is grey…until one discovers several small containers with paint, which can be purchased for free and used to color. When I was there, twice today, I didn’t try to color, but it could be that one can actually paint the grey in colors right there and then. Head over and find out! This installation is very much reflective of Romy’s style; playful and meaningful. Her objects are so finely crafted, delicate and with a lot of expression. A wonderful installation, as always.

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My last stop for today is Ruins by Cica Ghost. I’ve seen so many photographs on Flickr of this place and lots of different and intriguing interpretations. It made me want to head over and take a look in person! Because more than anything else I think what Cica consistently provides us with her installations is an atmosphere. I experienced a sense of doom; decay, ruins, hovering crows and dead-seeming trees. Yet, in the midst of all this there were colorful flowers forcing themselves throughout the dried-up ground, providing a sense of hope perhaps.  A beautiful and melancholy place.

Photographs by Kate Bergdorf