*Pic: by Kim Peart ~ His avatar, Starfarer, stands in the entrance of the Snow Gallery.
After building a round gallery now in Discovery Grid, where it is called the Snow Gallery, I set up an exhibition of vintage nudes.
Below is the essay included in a Notecard with the exhibition, obtained from the board inside the entrance.
Anyone 18 years and older (media rules) can go into Discovery Grid, a virtual world, to view the exhibition.
To obtain directions, send an Instant Message (IM) to my avatar in Discovery Grid, Star Farer.
When photography arrived in the 19th century, many artists adopted the new medium as a way to make a quick sketch for a painting.
In time the photograph came to be an art form in its own right.
This exhibition of female nudes spans time from the early days of photos, and on into the 1930s.
Because shutter speeds were slow in the early days, models had to keep a fixed pose during exposure, and rarely, if ever, is a smile seen in those early days.
It was the snap-happy years of the Brownie box camera that saw a more relaxed approach to the pose, with laughter and play not possible for the pioneers of the camera medium.
The viewer may note that many early models lacked pubic hair.
This baldness follows the tradition of paintings and sculpture in those days not including pubic hair.
Some men back then, raised on a diet of art of the day, were surprised to discover that their bride was not like the art they had become accustomed to.
Early nude photography can be seen to fall into three areas.
There is the artist’s eye, the nude in the tradition of art.
There is the sex industry, creating pornography from the very beginning of photos.
One reads of Queen Victoria’s collection of pornographic images.
Then there is erotica, where the story of the image is about sex, but goes beyond porn, to explore art, the kind of art that became the fuel for art movements like Surrealism.
The pornographic image is the art of the working classes, where prostitutes were frequently the models, and the pubic hair can be seen.
I have not included pornographic or erotic images in this exhibition, as the aim was to explore the beauty of the female form, with reflective, playful and artistic images.
The raw image has its place, from cave walls, to gargoyles seen on churches, down to the photographs we call porn.
Behind this play of the image and form, is a more primal impulse.
For earlier cultures sex was a natural part of life, like birth and death.
Goddesses like Inanna in Sumaria, Aphrodite among the Greeks, and Freyja with the Vikings, were women of sex and war.
Women of power.
The Romans, being more civilized, had tamer female goddesses, less dangerous, but the old empire was still mad about sex.
The need to make babies to fight wars may have been a primal motivation for Rome.
Their orgies served a purpose.
So we may wonder if pornography served a similar role in the Victorian empire, and other tribes of the Europeans.
The troops to slaughter marched on passion and punishment.
The educated eye found the female muse to inspire more ethereal visions.
I have found a few male images, but they would not look right tossed in among the muses.
The male energy will be a story for another day.
As will the meeting and the merging of the yin and yang.
And then the raw rampage of art in all guises, revealing the power and the passion.
Like our civilization bristling with nuclear weapons able to destroy all of life.
In the scales that weigh pornography against a nuclear winter, which is preferred, life or death?
Mother Nature now lives in terror of her children, so dangerous.
Where is the fertility that loves life, and the old ways of war that did not destroy all life?
Those days of passion and glory have marched off into history.
Now we must find ways to maintain peace.
And peace for some nations is secured with nuclear weapons.
The mind of any model before 1945 and the atomic age, knew war was terrible and cruel, but they were not haunted by the ghost of a dead future Earth.
All the nudes in this collection are long gone into the dust of time.
We can see their moment of exposure.
We can wonder at their story.
We can see across time from the age of our terror, and can long for a simpler life.
Where is our muse to inspire a better day?
Discovery Grid on Facebook ~
Discovery Grid website ~
*Kim Peart is a visual artist who began engaging in Second Life, the earliest virtual world where the user makes the content, in 2007. A decade on and Kim continues in Second Life, and also works in other grids, including Discovery Grid, owned by an Australian, Margaret Kellow. The virtual world is a place of art and animations, where models can be built, and anything imagined can be created, and used via avatars.