Tag Archives: Art in SL

Odyssey within a Lost Town

 Il Folle Volo, La Città Perduta

Il Folle Volo, La Città Perduta (click any image for full size)

La Città Perduta (The Lost Town), the arts venue curated by Akilae Gant and Sivi Kelberry, and which is modelled after a run-down Italian town, is currently home to a marvellous installation by Giovanna Cerise entitled Il Folle Volo, or The Mad Flight, which opened on Thursday, October 28th.

The exhibit takes as its central theme Odysseus‘ journey home to Ithaca, as told in Homer’s Odyssey, although it also touches upon his role in the Trojan War, as told through the pages of the Iliad, and takes its name not from Homer’s work, but draws it from Canto XXVI of Dante’s Inferno, although even within this, there remains an echo of Odyssey.

Three of the pieces on display are hard to miss, as they tower over the The Lost Town. In the main piazza, close to the landing point, a great, multifaceted horse rears into the air – a reference to the Trojan War, and Odysseus’ role within it, the stone of the piazza beneath it symbolically stained blood-red.

Close to the town’s church stands the imposing figure of the cyclops Polyphemus, whom Odysseus and his crew encounter after being blown far off course in a storm while attempting to return home following the war. The imposing figure, as tall as the church itself, is made of multiple, shard-like pieces both light and dark, which give it a magnificent dynamic feel.

On the edge of the region sits the titular piece, Il Folle Vollo, drawn from  Dante’s Canto XXVI, and seen in part at the top of this article. The Canto tells of Dante’s journey through the eighth circle of hell, Fraud, where he and Virgil, his guide, encounter Odysseus alongside Diomedes, both caught within flames in the eighth Bolgia, their punishment for perpetrating the deceit of the Trojan Horse. Here Odysseus tells Dante of his final adventures (Dante’s own creation), in which he met his end in a great vortex.

Here, the vortex itself is represented by a swirling mass of prim-like cubes, each rotating on its own, giving rise to a shifting pattern of light and dark as the mass spins about a central axis, and through which faces rise and fall. This piece also has echoes of Odysseus’ encounter with another vortex, that of Charybdis, the great whirlpool, which Odysseus faced along with the six-headed monster, Scylla, while attempting to reach Ithaca.

The final two elements in the piece, which represent Odysseus’ encounters with Circe and with the Sirens, are more subtle in nature. C  in particular make take a little finding – although the teleport disks located close to each piece should help those who want to visit each element of the installation directly rather then exploring the town.

Part of the beauty of this installation is the manner in which each of the pieces is perfectly suited to the environment in which it sits; the blending between them and the default windlight over The Lost Town and the architecture of the town itself, is superb. The multifaceted nature of the pieces not only aid in creating this blending of art and setting, but it also reflects the fact the Odysseus’ legend is also one of many literary facets, both in terms of the telling of the encounters within it, and in the manner in which they are portrayed by Virgil, Homer, Dante, and others down through time.

This multifaceted symbolism is reflected – and extended – in Giovanna’s own description of the exhibit, in which she says, “The work presented in Lost Town is freely inspired to some events in which the man with the multifaceted appearance will prove its capabilities. Odysseus and his journey becomes the symbol of the journey of all men who refuse to be trapped by dogma ropes, conformism and fear and prefer to go further, risking. Everyone can be a Ulysses, when we are ready to take ‘il folle volo’. Is always right do it?”

For lovers of art and mythology, this is an exhibit that is not to be missed.

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The fractal geometry of genesis

Opening in September at the Galeria Mexico is a new exhibition by Gem Preiz, featuring more of his remarkable fractal art. Gem kindly sent me a personal invitation to preview the new exhibition ahead of the opening, and I was only too happy to pop along and take a look.

Geometries – Genesis presents a display of two distinct halves bound together by a common theme: humanity’s quests for knowledge and understanding, and where it might eventually lead us.

The first part of the display – Geometries – presents seven pieces of Gem’s art which all of a distinctly linear composition, and which are presented in a white room. Each piece of art is governed by Euclidian rules, such that, as Gem describes them, “the parallel lines join only in the infinity and where the shortest way between two points is the straight line.”

Even without this description, the depth of perspective within each of the pieces on display is clear; one is not so much looking at them as looking into them. It is as if each one is a window looking out over a vista of light and colour; a feeling heightened by some of the pieces having echoes of architecture about them, as if one is looking down upon futuristic high-rise buildings while passing overhead.

Not that the pieces are intended to represent buildings; rather they offer the infinite to us, and as such translate themselves into brightly lit highways stretching off into the future, a window of colour with the promise of knowledge and understanding yet to be found, opening off of the whiteness of all that we have learnt and absorbed to date.

Upstairs, in the second part of the exhibit, we find Genesis, and the differences couldn’t be more apparent. Here, in a blackened room, sit seven more pieces of Gem’s fractal art; these all depicting planets forming against a stellar blanket of stars, sitting under a slowly rotating galaxy, small worlds and Moons painted with images from Google Earth suspended in the spaces between them.

“These pieces,” Gem told me, “evoke the creation mysteries which remain beyond human knowledge, way more complex than our usual geometrical rules.” And they do; each image in this section is deeply evocative. Mathematics and digital processing may have created each of the worlds being formed in the seven paintings, but looking at them, it is hard not to imagine each world cradled in that hands of a Creator, its form being gently shaped and rolled, order emerging from chaos.

The idea of creator runs deeper still. As digital creations, each of these seven worlds has been authored, their creator being the artist himself. Thus the pieces resonate further, the comparisons between the work of the artist and the idea of a creative force behind the very universe itself become interwoven; there is majesty here.

Taken individually, Geometries – Genesis present two remarkable exhibitions of fractal art on their own; together they present a single whole which, while comprising two unique perspectives and styles of painting, are unified in both their form and in their representation of our civilisation-spanning quest to know and to understand, and – as Gem reminds us, the fact that Nature is not so simple to decipher as we may have once thought.

Geometries – Genesis opens on Monday September 1st, and will remain at the Galeria Mexico through until the end of September, alongside a number of other exhibitions hosted at the region-wide gallery as a part of FIAT – the Fine Arts Tour of 2014.

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The ethereal beauty of Somewhere in Second Life

I received a notice about a new exhibition by WuWai Chun which opened on Sunday August 3rd at the Rose Theatre & Art Gallery. I didn’t make it to the opening, sadly, due to other commitments, but managed to pop along as soon as time allowed.

The exhibition is in support of Feed A Smile, a project run by Live and Learn in Kenya (LLK), to provide nutritious warm lunches for over 400 children every day, paid for entirely from donations to the project (see my article on Feed  A Smile written to accompany Draxtor’s excellent World Makers video on the work).

Called Somewhere in Second Life, the display features selected images from WuWai’s travels across Second Life, which also appear in her Flickr photostream of the same name and which she describes as a personal destination guide. However, the pictures on display are not simply snapshots of in-world locations.

WuWai’s passion is to turn her pictures into paintings. Having taught herself the sometimes arcane art of post-processing, she labours over her scenic snapshots to give them the look and texture of watercolour or oil paintings. The results are images that are quite stunning in appearance, with many of them having an ethereal look to them which quite captivates the eye, drawing you into it.

These are pictures which really do immerse you in the sensation of visiting a gallery and slowly walking through the halls. There are no Constables or Browns or Balmers among the pictures hanging on the walls between WuWai’s pictures but frankly, had I come across one or two, I wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised,her work is that evocative.

As the exhibition is in support of Feed A Smile, the pictures are available to buy – simply right-click on any that take your fancy.

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Sculpture in motion

Neeks Karu - Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Neeks Karu – Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Kelly Yap Art Gallery is hosting two exhibits, both of which opened on Saturday July 26th, 2014. On the ground floor of the gallery is a series of sculptures by Neeks Karu, while upstairs is Betty Tureaud latest installation.

I confess that Neeks Karu is not a name that rings bells with me – which on the strength of this exhibit, really is to my loss. On display are a dozen free-standing and wall mounted sculptures, all but one of which include a degree of moment, and many of which appear to be founded on geometry – several of the wall-mounted pieces in particular are mindful of fractal progressions.

There are no descriptions accompanying the individual pieces – or at least, none I could find in clicking, but the names are evocative: “Exclusion”, “Web”, “Safety”, “Quest” and so on. Each piece is also somewhat hypnotic in its influence; or perhaps mesmerizing might be a better term, drawing the observer into them, encouraging close-in camming in order to watch the changing forms and patterns.

Providing you’re not completely hypnotised by Neeks’ work, make your way upstairs and you’ll find Betty’s latest work, rendered in her hallmark rich colours. This also uses geometry and movement in a piece which is quite deceptive when first perceived, and actually requires a little time (and perhaps a little careful camming) to appreciate fully.

Betty , Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Betty Tureaud , Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Floating in the multi-hued space are five brightly coloured frames. These wash back and forth along the length of the space, as if to the ebb and flow of the tide – or tides, as each frame can move both faster and slower than the others in a seemingly random pattern, and can suddenly reverse direction or pause. Depending on the rate of motion and speed of change, every so often the frames come together to brief nest one within another within another, largest to smallest. Or, if not all of them, then perhaps three or four of them, while the remaining frames slide away in one direction or the other, as if unwilling to be a part of the orderly gathering.

Careful camming is in order because when viewed from certain positions, such as either end of the room in which they sit, the frames use distance and perspective in an optical illusion familiar to all of us, but which is nevertheless fascinating to witness. Depending on their positions relative to one another, their sizes appear to be reversed: the largest may appear to be medium-sized, a medium-sized frame appears much smaller and the smallest suddenly appears to dominate the rest. Only when they reach their nested equilibrium as they slide along their shared path, is the truth of their relative sizes revealed.

Betty T, Kelly Yap Art Gallery

Betty Tureaud, Kelly Yap Art Gallery

All told, two interesting and complementary exhibits.