Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Unmissable Art for January

By Klaus Bereznyak

Every month is probably a good one for art addicts in Second Life; there's always something going on. For those who want to keep a finger on the pulse and don't mind several group messages a day, groups like "Culture and Fun" keep up well with new exhibits opening and other arty events. It can also be difficult knowing where to start, and the ones shouting the loudest are not always the most satisfying to encounter. Of course, personal taste varies and, while I enjoy finding things that make me sit up and take notice, I am no art critic. For what it's worth, here are just three of my 'unmissables' for this month.

Paula Cloudpainter: "Clouds Meeting Water" at Visions of Beauty

The Visions of Beauty art complex is a good place to start exploring the variety of artists in Second Life. The two buildings contain multiple levels of galleries with different artists in residence and a turnover of exhibitions.

The latest exhibition from Paula Cloudpainter opened earlier this month and features beautiful, light canvases of sky and land.
The pictures are arranged on the open roof of the building, with the sky making a perfect backdrop, so they seem to blend into the distance. Paula's bio states, "My canvases are about transitions. How light changes… how moods change…how the universe moves. Sometimes subtle… other times dramatic… change is happening all around us every moment of every day. My artwork speaks to that idea. Clouds provide a perfect vehicle for that expression."

Paula has been working on these pictures since early 2017, using a variety of mediums, digital and 'real'. She tells me all of her artworks start as watercolors, oil paintings and drawings created in RL. When she brings them inworld, she enjoys the possibilities of there being "no gravity" in SL, so elements can float in the air without wires, or be given a stronger three dimensional aspect. She takes her sketchbooks everywhere and intends to continue "exploring the motifs and possibilities of cloudscapes and landscapes".

"The three square watercolors are from my sketchbooks, where I often make notes about the scene directly on the painting. These sketches often serve as inspiration and reference for larger canvases."
Paula tells me that some of the pictures have stories behind them. "Empty World," A canvas that stands out with the depth of its blues, depicting the world as if from space, was inspired by a song by Second Life musician David Csizer. David then picked out a picture he liked from the selection and wrote a song about it. The two pictures are side by side. Paula is infectiously enthusiastic about how artists in different areas (music, literature, painting) can inspire each other. She is working on a longer series of paintings, all expressing songs by Second Life musicians. 

"I love to share my inner vision of how i see the world and all of the beauty and intricacies around us. From how a cloud formation moves to how light and color dance on the ocean. I love to show viewers a part of the world they might not have otherwise noticed."

Also worth visiting is the adjoining gallery, filled with Paula's figure paintings, including a picture called "Elephant Strut", which was inspired by one of VooDoo Shilton's songs.

Both exhibits will be in place into the summer, and Paula is planning to have an opening of new watercolors and drawings in June.

Pearl Grey; "Berries" at Montara Bridgeworks Gallery

Montara Bridgeworks is an independent gallery, like many maintained on the grid by their owners, for the love of art. These are often tucked away, full of character, and a real pleasure to discover. Pearl Grey runs this exhibition space with a slow rotation of solo shows from various artists, and it's nice to see her own work in this latest exhibit. "Berries" opened in November and runs until the end of January, so you'll need to be quick to catch it.
The visitor notecard offers a poem and describes the exhibition as a 2D digital art meditation incorporating virtual photography. It is the whole effect of the picture series in this setting that is to be enjoyed.

There's a strong thematic element to the work: big canvasses with a bold, earthen palette, depictions of architecture or landscapes and figures, brushed and rounded into softer organic shapes. The natural light and shadow on the two floors of the gallery contributes an atmospheric setting that makes the whole exhibition an immersion, and the furniture invites lingering.
I have been back a few times to sit here, letting the theme of "Berries" work itself in - it was time well spent.

Sanjeewa Kumara and Sujeewa Kumari at InterstellART

Asmita Duranjaya's sim-spanning art complex, InterstellART, is dotted with galleries dedicated to the work of single artists, representing a fascinating crossection of styles and approaches. There are galleries above and below, joined by skywalks and gantries and navigated via a system of teleports that I find easier to use than trying to fly about.
This exhibition at the SanSujee Gallery represents the work of two real-life artists from Sri Lanka that Asmita has obtained permission to show inworld. The 20 works on display demonstrate the very distinctive work of this couple alongside one another: Sanjeewa's radiant and colorful paintings counterbalancing Sujeewa's stonewashed, earthier work. Both invite the visitor to contemplate mythological symbolism with a surrealist, dreamlike quality.

Informative notecards on each artist can be obtained by clicking on the sign at the entrance to the gallery. They describe how both artists have used traditional imagery from their own and other cultures in their work, creating something that feels accessible from both eastern and western perspectives. Both artists have had formal training in their homeland and abroad in the Netherlands. 

I found the huge canvasses immediately appealing for their colors, shapes and composition, and recognised the common language of dreams in the content of the pictures.

This exhibition has been running since October 2017 and is still open and well worth visiting.


Klaus Bereznyak

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