Sunday, August 3, 2008

AM Radio and Miki Gymnast collaborate - Two distinct art languages converse

Today, the Alexandar Gallery marked the opening of The Refuge and the Expansion - a new show spanning two sims - featuring several works we are familiar with and some new things (and great freebies, I might add) by AM Radio (teleport directly from here), and yet a third sim which brings together AM Radio and Miki Gymnast's art in a project that embodies two disciplines and provides us with poetic opposites.

This photograph by AM Radio

We relate to AM and Miki's work in such different ways. His painterly and hyper-real and immersive situations as can be seen at The Far Away, The Quiet and Husk, are so much more than recreations of objects we know and recognize. Rather, he invites us to look through his eyes and gives us emotional and cultural reference points. Chocked full of hidden metaphors, his fields and landscapes invite us to walk through memories, which are not necessarily his own. He is a visual narrator. If you follow his Flickr stream, you will see an actual story unfold that integrates all of his work.

In contrast, Miki is best known for her sharp eye with respect to geometric shapes that spill out of the traditional frame and are often quite Not Possible IRL. Her installations are generated via intricate scripting work and inspired by mathematics, featuring mostly colorful panes of glass in complex, undulating and soaring structures.

The result of their collaboration: a smokey-colored Klein Bottle sits in a tilled field, surrounded by mega prim walls that define the lighting and mood of the scene, (teleport directly from here).

"From a purely academic standpoint, art is a communication and all communication is grounded in some vocabulary," said AM. "I believe that the best abstract art is shown in a context."

What was your interest in placing abstract art here?
AM Radio: It is a contrast, and as a realist I think people tend to write me off somewhat. 'Oh well, AM won't be interested in this or that,' and I don't get an invite or an LM, when in fact, I am very intersted in abstract work. After seven years of art school, I understand the concepts, theory and talent that goes into the work.

"For example, here we have a tilled field and a sky and a horizon... it implies things like gravity and space as we experience them in Real Life," said AM. "When you put something like what Miki does in this space, it literally shows you - as a dialog - all of the rules its breaking. It forces you to think about what the piece is really doing. Like an abstract work seen in Real Life, the context is our personal experiences, the baggage we bring everywhere we go. When you present such a work in a vacuum, the dialog is more muted and guess work... like two people speaking foreign languages, attempting to speak with simple signs."

AM Radio's walls do speak

You've been extra particular about the light qualities here... the walls disinvite play with Windlight...
AM Radio: There are a few points there. First, mega prims are indispensible. The second, we need to be able to share Windlight settings and thirdly, look at the result if both are allowed.

If I understand you correctly, you are giving us a Windlight preset in-world by creating these walls.
AM Radio: I wish I could share this as a windlight setting, but I cannot. For now, the compromise is a megaprim.

Miki Gymnast

"I want to see this in Real Life," said Miki, "a farm in the mid-west, with such a sphere."

A Master Scripter in addition to being an artist, she explained that the Klein Bottle is a sphere with no outside and no inside. The Klein, in fact, is a one-sided surface - like the Möbius band - but is even more complex since it is closed and has no border and neither an enclosed interior nor exterior. While it is possible in Real Life, it is costly and complicated to produce.

Alexandar Vargas... a patron of the arts

The expansive three sim exhibit was made possible thanks to the generosity of Alexandar Vargas, the owner of the Alexandar Gallery. While several of his sims are dedicated to a permanent display of sculptures in a garden setting, he is taking a more active role in hosting very large installations, such as Madcow Cosmos' recent Tarot deck. I met with him yesterday at The Refuge and the Expansion to learn more.

Alexandar Vargas and AM Radio

What is your opinion of this show?
Alexandar Vargas: I have never seen such talents as AM and Miki. AM is probably the one artist here in Second Life® that has really touched me with his work. The fields he has here take me back home, since I grew up in northern Tennessee and drove through the midwest a lot... lived in Nebraska for a while, too.

You have been an empowering force to artists. How did this happen and when did you get started?
Alexandar Vargas: Probably in January. I received Light Waves' Ballerina as a gift, and began collecting art since then. I decided to place it on Welsh Bay. I think that (virtual) art is as impressive as Real Life art.

Back in January, Alexandar had two sims which he used as his home, but then he began to voraciously acquire art...
Alexandar Vargas: Once I ran out of prims, I moved off my home estate and then took over my brother's sim. He and I both own the Cove... it was the first sim we purchased.

Was it hard to find great art? Or was it hard to choose between the immense selection?
Alexandar Vargas: It was neither difficult to find, nor difficult to choose it. It was more of an issue of having room for it.

And then you got a third sim?
Alexandar Vargas: Yes, each time I ran out of room, I got a new sim. When other artists approached me and I saw art I wasn't aware of... that floored me, to be honest.

How many sims do you have now?
Alexandar Vargas: God... um, six I think, that I use for art. I really enjoy it. Lots of times, I just walk through the sims when I can't sleep. It is important to let others know about virtual art. It is just as valuable and beautiful as art in Real Life, and it is a shame when some don't think so.


aeneaideas said...

Miki's installation is gorgeous! But man, did it make my viewer angry. :)

Henry S said...

Beautiful work!

A few pedantic notes:

I believe it is actually a complicated imbedding of a torus into the 3 dimensional space of the sim, rather than a Klein bottle. If it had an odd number of "lobes" then it would be a Klein bottle, but as it has 6, and each lobe flips one side of the surface for the other, one can colour the two sides with different shades consistently, so it has to be orientable.

Klein bottles are only sortof possible IRL. The glass versions have that annoying circle, where the "tube part" passes through the "bottle part". A proper Klein bottle would not have that intersection, and this is only possible in 4 (or higher) dimensional space.