Sunday, February 19, 2006

Art of Nature Gallery

[Images Redacted]

Continuing a look at curated virtual spaces, the Art of Nature Gallery in Philudoria (185,115,47) dovetails nicely into the discussion as a contrast to the monumentality of the Grignano Public Art Museum and the cacophony of the Curious Kitties Boutique.

In speaking with owner Horus Baker, the original concept given to builders Endira Udal and Rez Menoptra of Kush Design Lab was to create a 'gallery in the park' from which to exhibit original works of nature photography. Rez and Endira, partners in both SL and RL, have crafted an engaging dialectic between built and natural elements in a manner that seems to contextualize and heighten the experience of the artistic work relative to its surroundings.

Entering the 'L' shaped plan at the intersection between the two spokes one is able to easily move from one end of the build to the other with an innate sense of one's position within the larger whole at any given time (unlike a number of major RL galleries where one is confused by a perfect symmetry of identical rectangular rooms and a bewildering preponderance of Madonnas and their children). Within the apparent simplicity of the plan there unfolds a rich and complex sequence of spaces, such that one spoke of the 'L' is developed as a single large gallery, the other is a composition of individual floor slabs that follow the upward slope of the landscape as a series of terraces connected by ramps.

The artworks are displayed on a partition system that follows a consistent modular design, deferring to both the frames they hold and the spaces they frame, which are allowed to flow transparently and uninterrupted from both above and below. This idea is further reinforced by the lightness of roof structure and its perception as loosely draped fabric sun shades, emphasizing the connection with the sky, contributing to an overall expression that feels less like a building and more like a pavilion, where the architecture is playing second fiddle to the sense of nature communicated in the photographs and around the photographs.

Which brings us to the most compelling elements in the build. The spaces between the spaces, the interstitial areas formed outside the gallery partitions are teeming with rocks, plants, and water elements that attempt to catapult the viewer into an entirely different mental place by screening the rest of the sim from view (and creating a few minor camera issues along the way). The end result, the greater whole to be derived from the sum of these parts, is a fantastic and simultaneous combination of dynamism, serenity, engagement, and repose.

Like a zen rollercoaster. (Stop the ride, I don't wanna get off?)

Update: For more info on Endira and Rez, check out the article written by Horus Baker in this issue (large PDF link) of the Metaverse Messenger.


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