Archive for the ‘Gallery of Light’ Category

Facing RespectA couple of weeks back I did a picture for The Gallery of Light, under the theme of “respect”. It was a subversive picture, and one that requires a bit of explaining, so here’s the explanation if you were wondering what the hell the picture’s about (and even if you weren’t).

It’s called “facing respect” because it is a face (duh) and because it’s about facing the truth of what it means to demand respect from people for beliefs that are actually dangerous and based on false-hoods. It is a comment on the modern use of the term “respect” to tell you to leave people’s beliefs alone and unquestioned – which to me is a perversion of the term and does a lot of harm.

The right side of the face is the “public face” of these requests for “respect”: The white doves in the eye is the vision of peace, the tears are for others’ suffering – everything about that side of the face is meant to suggest purity, innocence and good intentions.

The left side is the truth behind what it means when people demand respect for things that shouldn’t get it (as so often happens): The eye sees the truth of fire – the destruction caused by granting “respect” to ideas that should be exposed and revealed for their false-hoods. The lips are shut by barbed fire to symbolise the way people use the term “respect” to tell you to keep your mouth shut instead of exposing the truth. The hair line is fractured since the brain is ordered not to evaluate, not to criticize, but to quietly – “respectfully” keep it’s thoughts to itself. Where the right side had rose-petals the left side is scarred by thorns – just because something is pretty to the eyes (“respecting every one and everyone’s beliefs equally”), doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.

The light radiating from the body is representing the fact that the beliefs we carry are not just “internal” – that what we believe does matter and impacts others and ultimately reality; the way we treat other people, the politics we vote for, the laws we create. We should care what other people think and be ready to discuss and if necessary criticize it, instead of letting people tell us to not do so, in the name of “respect”.

I’m pretty sure it’s the last picture I’m ever doing for the Gallery of Light – even though I intended to keep up my art in Second Life, I have a feeling my personal exodus from there is going to be a bit more all-encompassing than I originally planned. Maybe I’ll get back into Second Life art with a passion at some point but I don’t know when, and it won’t be soon. It’s a shame that my last picture for the place was a tad dark but that’s the point of the picture itself isn’t it: The truth isn’t always pretty roses, sometimes it’s thorns, but the deeper beauty of knowing the truth is worth more than superficial aesthetics.

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My latest picture for The Gallery of Light

My latest picture for The Gallery of Light

The latest Gallery of Light theme is Beginnings. What I like to do when I’m given the new theme every couple of weeks is to sit down and brain-storm a list of images and ideas that come to mind. Then I decide which ones I’m most interested in. Finally I narrow it down by which ones I can actually pull off within Second Life; I try to keep if from Second Life as purely as possible (without any major use of brushes or stock images) for my entries to the Gallery because by presenting it there I am saying the work is my own – there is no description underneath telling people where anything was sourced from.

Lots of things came to mind for “beginnings” but the one that caught my imagination and was easier to do in Second Life was story-book / fairy-tale beginnings. I love dressing up in fancy ball dresses, and had a perfect castle in mind, so I did the classic princess shot, “Once Upon a Time”. She can either be trapped in the tower looking wistfully down for a saviour, or pinning about her loneliness, wishing for adventure, etc. To me she is thinking about how dull and meaningless her everyday life is even though she’s a princess, and unaware of the excitement that is about to unfold.

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FearHere is my picture for the 4th theme at the Gallery of Light: Fear.

I struggled at first with deciding on the concept I wanted to represent, but I soon decided on at least something I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to do a “fear OF” something. I wanted to represent either fear itself or some deeper message about what it is to have fear, and so I came to this picture.

The general idea is that Fear comes from within, which it does. We all have certain needs – food, water, air – but we rarely have fears associated with not having our most fundamental needs met. If you ask someone what they fear they will tend to answer at a “meta-level” – some sort of societal consideration, such as disappointing loved ones, public humiliation, public speaking, being alone, etc. And this was the direction most of my friends also partaking in the gallery seemed to go (or think about going – I haven’t been in world much lately due to the surgery so not sure what ended up there). Those sorts of fears are things we can work on over-coming. They are the sorts of things that if we look inside ourselves we can try to understand and overcome, for our own betterment. So in a way their work inspired my own picture – a reflection on those types of fears.

The picture itself is hopefully clear in (at least some of) its symbolism: The hand is out to ward off the seeming external threat, but the true darkness – the real origin of the fear – is within. The fear shining out from within colours the perception of the outside world, distorts its true image. The face is both revealed and hidden in the light of the fear, in the same way that we hide ourselves away in our blanket of fears and yet unintentionally reveal so much of who we really are when we tell and show people what we fear. She looks outside of herself to keep an eye on the danger, and holds her hand to herself in a protective way, without understanding that the attention is misdirected.

I don’t know what the next theme is but as always looking forward to it. Thank you as always Bailey for the opportunity to be part of your Gallery ❤

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