A new art exhibit featuring artists Rubben Acajou and Sandralee Palianta opened May 19 in the Cuauhnahuac Gallery located at Instituto Espanol (48, 134, 31). The exhibit is titled “Realism in Second Life” and features a wide variety of photographs and paintings of landscapes, still life, marine, and other subjects.
As you enter the Gallery, a sign at the entrance explains the historical significance of its RL structure. The Gallery replicates The Palace of Cortes, which is now a museum located in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The RL structure is almost 500 years old, making it the oldest preserved colonial era civil structure in the continental Americas.
The SL Gallery is a massive, two story stone and stucco building, with thick carpets in many of the rooms, and Spanish arches and tiled floors in the hallways. Beautiful floral arrangements add to the ambiance and create a perfect place to enjoy art.
The current exhibit showcases the work of two painters and photographers. Rubben Acajou’s exhibit begins with paintings of still life in which the fruit looks so real you want to reach out and taste it. In the adjoining rooms, there are landscape and marine scenes.
Although all of his paintings are beautiful, I liked Acajou’s interpretation of the sea best. His subjects ranged from “El Faro” (The Lighthouse) to “Pescadores” (Fishermen) to sailing ships and storms. Marine 2 is a real photograph where he captured the white capped waves beautifully.
On the second floor of the Gallery the works of Sandralee Palianta are featured. Palianta is a photographer and graphic artist from San Francisco. She is exhibiting her work for the first time in Second Life.
Palianta’s exhibit starts with a large colorful ink brush abstract entitled, “Mexican Pattern”. The colors are vivid and energetic. From there the exhibit moves to pencil, pen, and photographic mediums. Many of her photographs are of everyday vegetables like cabbage, peppers, and mushrooms, but she manages to turn them into works of art. Other subjects are more abstract, such as “Glass Hearts” and “Beaded Face Masks”.
Many of her photographs are of places, including ones taken in Arizona and on San Francisco’s Pier 39. She has captured the desolate beauty of desert mountains as well as the delicate beauty of wildflowers. In one photograph of a bee in a cactus flower, she shows the contrast between the delicate petals of the flower and the sharp spines of the cactus. My favorite photograph is “Fall in the Black Hills”, which shows a man, perhaps a Native American, walking near a pond against a background of colorful fall foliage.
Some of Palianta’s photographs are studies in black and white. In one she highlights the stark beauty of a coyote on a frosty morning near Lake Mead, Nevada, and in another, “Mist on the River” she shows the beauty of fog. Other works, however, are colorful and bright. In one she has photographed a jewel-colored carousel horse. In “Outhouses” she has captured a fun array of Americana signage and what looks like old license plates.