Friday, April 8, 2016


By Becky "Sha" Shamen

Here we are exploring our second art exhibit in a row. It wasn't planned, but I got a staff notice that was looking for a reporter to check out "Strawberryland," by Cica Ghost. My ears perked up, as I recalled my recent article, "Roots," by the same artist, last January. I found her art to be very simple, but radiating subtle mental imagery, through all of our senses. It even smelled good.

On the return visit, as my landing spot rezzed, I spotted a lady in a black dress, standing in front of me. Her name tag showed her to be the artist, Cica Ghost. I introduced myself as a reporter for the SL Newser, that had written about her last show and was now reviewing Strawberryland. She asked for the URL of the Newser and I gave it. I sensed that neither of us was prepared for an interview, but perhaps she could answer a question or two. In my mind, I am about to judge her art on how well it communicates ideas to me. I couldn't ask her, what's the meaning behind this or that, so I let the technical artist in me blurt out, "Are all you art objects made from sculpties or mesh?". She seemed proud to announce that they were all mesh. There was a steady trickle of new visitors to the exhibit, wishing to bestow at-a-girls and pats on the back side, so I thanked Cica for her time and inched away, pointing at my camera.

I think good art should convey a message, from the mind of the artist to the mind of the observers. I wanted to see more of what's inside Cica's imagination. After finding the link for Strawberry Land, in the Destination Guide, I made a short, scouting trip to make a LM and take a quick look about. First impression? I would return, a.s.a.p. and take pictures.

 Within a few feet of the meeting with Cica, I snapped a photo of a small, table top model of a house and flowers. What made it unusual was it had a background picture of sky and it and the flowers were moving, as if being blown by wind. I didn't realize, until later when I cropped all the photos, that this first model sculpture was a key to understanding the language being spoken, throughout the rest of the sim.
The first thing you notice is all the strawberries. When I think of the song "Strawberry Fields", I picture a place and event, but no fruit. In Strawberryland they are plentiful and BIG. How big? I walked into a small greenhouse, with a starter plant and baby strawberries. I estimate them to be about 30 inches tall. Strawberries also brought the smell of the fruit to mind. To my nose, the taste and smell of strawberries is  right in the middle of the scale. It's OK, but I don't seek them for myself. On the other hand, the smell of synthetic strawberry flavor (ester) has always raised a red flag in me. As before, Cica's art spoke through my nose.

Strawberries aren't the only big thing here. I felt about one foot tall, through most of the exhibit. I begin to notice another theme among some of these large sculptures. Although they contain no animated parts, they display motion, like wind blowing hair and cloth or wheeled carts under sculptures to move them around.

As we continue the tour, I remark to myself that this exhibit seems more colorful than the previous one. An industrial looking building, with rusting metal sides, is just ahead. Inside, we can see a collection of smaller sculptures, so we open the metal gate and go inside.
I recognized the objects as being ones that were used in "Roots", but these had somehow been made anew. They had been painted, but not in the way a normal house is. It's more like they were splattered with different colors. As I head to the next area, I remark to myself, "She's added a splash of color this time".
 At the painter sculpture, we see several of the communicated ideas come together in one spot. A big man, covered in a rainbow of paint spills, is splattering two different colors on one wall, as his hair blows in the wind and an impatient horse waits in front of the biggest strawberry on the island, to be taken somewhere else.
Down the path, we find a boy and girl enjoying this impression of wind. Looking back at the picture, it's hard to believe that nothing in this scene was moving.
So readers, let us review what these objects d'art have communicated to us today. We had strawberries. Did you taste them? We had the motion of wind and wheels. Did you feel the rush? We had a splash of color. Did you get wet? Perhaps, if these three key ideas were placed end to end, in the right order, they might form a complete sentence, a thank you from Cica Ghost to the visitors of Strawberryland.  I'll leave that for the readers to decipher. Meanwhile, I get out my tape measure to calculate if I can build an island with this huge strawberry.

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