Currently on display at the Michel Bechir Gallery is a ensemble exhibition featuring five Second Life photographer-artists, offering images under the common theme of Emotions. The participating artists are AngeloDiabolico, Mya Audebarn, Max Seagate, Robyn35, and Lynx Luga, with four of the artists on display within the gallery building, and one – AngeloDiabolico – on the courtyard outside.
Given the title of the exhibition, the majority of the images presented focus on avatar studies – but within them, there are also some unexpected pieces that add a twist to the theme, whilst others offer a more narrative slant to the theme.
Take Angelo’s pieces for example; several have a powerful fantasy theme running through them that provide a rich narrative that frames their focus, bringing life and depth to the characters through the suggestion of emotion rather than a direct focusing on the subject. Just look at An Angel Without Wings as singular example: there is a story here just waiting for the imagination to open; one of beauty, fallen angels, regret, loss, loneliness and more, transmitted from the title of the piece through the setting and use of color to focus down on the central character in such a way the the depth of emotion she is feeling is unmistakable, despite the fact we cannot see her face.
By her own admission, Robyn35 is new to the world of Second life photography and still finding her way; however, her work already has a balance and focus that makes it worthy of exhibition. Located on the upper floor of the gallery, she presents a set of images that might be seen as “traditional” avatar studies: minimal or no background, close-in, often soft focus on the subject, etc. However, in doing so, Robyn demonstrates the ability to transmit emotions through her work in a single frame without the need for us to necessarily click any of them to read the title.
On the lower floor, Mya (for the most part) follows this technique, but with a focus on the facial expression to convey emotion, whilst also using a sense of motion in some of her pieces to give an alternative expression of emotion – freedom, happiness, reflection. The balance of portrait and broader study giving her selection a richness of expression.
Max Seagate also offers a combination of solo images and those using a sense of motion to convey their emotions. He also joins Angelo in presenting several pieces that appear to be moments of broader narrative, in which the captured moment is but a single frame in which the emotional power of that broader picture is focused.
However,and without wishing to appear biased – all of the art in this exhibition is rich in content and its ability to hold the eye – I admit to finding the pieces presented by Lyna Luga within the entrance hall of the gallery particularly compelling.