Friday, January 7, 2011

Rowan's Reflections: December Brings Supernatural Encounters

Rubbing up to Misprint Thursday's 'Paranormal Frottage'

I've been sorely amiss: I completely missed the opening round of the new UWA challenge, and for that I am ashamed. And I can see now, that it was truly my loss - everyone has really upped their game for this second year, and I'll have to make sure to keep up.

Cherry Manga's 'Fallen Angel'
And if the art wasn't enough to seduce me, Jayjay has invited me along to share some of my rambling thoughts with you here on the blog, which I am pleased to do (and thanks to Sayumi for the warm welcome!). These little snapshots will be much briefer than my Ekphrasis tomes over on the Prim Perfect blog, I promise!

Wandering the UWA is like visiting the V&A, or the Met, or one of my other favourite large museums: I have to take it in segments. Not just for the lagtastic factor, but because there is so much to see, and I like to soak it all up. But the past couple nights, I couldn't help but noticing that not only is everything looking very sharp, but there were more than a few pieces which had a decidedly spiritual, even supernatural aspect to them. Last night, for example, I found myself in deep contemplation of Cherry Manga's Fallen Angel for it's sheer beauty and stunning display of skill. I've enjoyed her work over at Mysterious Wave (alongside that of last month's winner Anley Piers, who currently has a fantastic exhibit up at Pirats SAS La Rochelle).

I was also quite mesmerized by Pumpkin Tripsa's Ganesha. I have to admit, I'm not a huge fan of prim 'sculptie' sculptures of physical bodies (whether animal or humanoid). I find they often look amateurish, rather like generic icons on crosswalk lights. Tripsa, however, has mastered prim-working, and his Ganesha looks like it was modeled and cast as a bronze might. He's even got proper shadows on the surface of the Hindu god (a personal favourite in any case).

Pumpkin Tripsa's 'Ganesha'

And as the patron of arts and sciences he is well-placed in the open plan gallery (which has been brilliantly curated by FreeWee Ling, I hasten to add). Ganesha rests his gaze upon the sparking and jumping arachnid Sayumi also enjoyed (see previous post), masterminded by the mad genius Tensai Hilra.

Tensai Hilra's 'Bennie'
I say 'mad genius' because her art lies not in just the creation, but destruction of her work. I've had the pleasure of watching Tensai's glee as she detonated her creations, from her amazing RFL build 'Alice' to the volcanic Mount St. Helen's which sits at the centre of Steelhead, the 19th century Pacific Northwest region full of Steampunk goodness that she co-owns and governs with her partner TotalLunar Eclipse.

How Tensai cleaned up her Award-winning RFL build 'Alice'
As I watch the beautiful but threatening steam-powered spider in action, I also cannot help but imagine it being rendered to bits - and secretly hope Tensai might plan to explode her lovely creature, and that I might be invited to watch!

But tonight it is a different sort of destruction which has me enthralled. Misprint Thursday offers us a trial by fire in her compelling multi-media installation Paranormal Frottage (and the title alone is enough to draw me in). It's the kind of installation I adore, and would love to see in a gallery, at the same time I recognize the unique properties of the virtual which make it possible. In case you miss the sign, set to midnight and turn your media stream on before you go in - but DO grab the notecard, and wear the object it provides. As the title suggests, this room is a metaphysical immersion, where the shifting light - flickering flames - emanating from Misprint's hazy drawings and film ethereally rub against as you pass through space.

Haunting images infuse Misprint Thursday's 'Paranormal Frottage'
This 'frottage' is also provided through the haunting music, the lyrics written and sung by the artist herself. The song is enthralling - a melancholic melody with motifs of fire and winter, truly a December song (the Sagittarius in me loves it). I was lucky (silly) enough to still be wearing my ice skates, and have been floating-dancing around the room for far too long already.

Don't miss the December round of the UWA, it will feed your mind, and in many cases, soul.


  1. great start Rowan! and welcome again to the UWA Blog :)

  2. Rowan's professional approach to art criticsm and her broad undeerstanding of the metaverse art scene show so well here. I know I am going to love it every time she writes, and learn a heap besides!