I know a lot of people will be blogging about the new show by Chuckmatrix Clip titled Inner Prisons, which opened along with another show (Escapes by Dan Freeland – more about that below) Wednesday at Art India Galleries (hosted by VK Navarathna), both curated by Quan Lavender. Quan has clearly learned that the key to a successful show is inviting the right artists. I won’t go into a lot of detail about these shows, mostly because they speak for themselves, both by their content and by the statements provided by the curator and by the artists.
I have known Chuck’s work for several years, since early in my experience in SL, when I started visiting art galleries and spaces like Chilbo, Ars Simulacra, Crescent Moon, and Blackwater. The best artists in those days were doing remarkable things with normal prims. Because that’s what they had. No sculpts, no Windlight, certainly no meshes. Usually unscripted. Just prims (often lots of them), textures, and vision. People like Starax, Cheen Pitney, Madcow Cosmos, Ub Yifu, and Chuckmatrix Clip made prims come alive. (Blackwater Gallery still has an amazing collection of older work by these top artists. It would be a good education for any current artists to visit and see how it all began.) Most who have continued to work in SL have gravitated to sculpts and mesh.
And Chuck has used sculpts in his work, but he is clearly most comfortable with the elemental shapes of prims. When Chuck submitted his work “The Scent of Her” to the UWA Centenary 3D Art Challenge, I was impressed as usual by the powerfully expressive form of his work. But reading his note about the piece, describing a moment of anguish in his real life experience in a mental hospital years ago, the piece takes on a depth that is nearly overwhelming. In the Inner Prisons show, Chuck has expanded greatly on the theme, and given us several insightful and disturbing vignettes of his experience. It is set in a sort of maze that you enter from a hospital waiting room. The sculptural scenes are mostly in padded rooms that have open portals to enter, but are eerily closed when seen from the inside. In addition to these, there are rl 2D artworks on the walls of the hallway. I’d never seen Chuck’s 2D work, and this just served to deepen my respect for him as an artist. I commend him for his courage and vision for exposing this side of himself and for letting us share a profound experience. I strongly encourage you to see the installation.
I know Dan Freeland from a previous incarnation. He’s been gone a while and I’m glad to see him back. A fine rl graphic artist, he is beginning to experiment with motion in his SL 2D work. There are images that shift and fade, and some the go in and out of focus. The color forms are somewhat reminiscent of a lavalamp, but are basically abstract shapes derived from pornographic images. Whatever the point of using this source material, it does lend an organic and sensual appeal to his pictures. See the exhibit, also at Art India.