‘Love Dot’ by Rob Barber / Rob Steenhorst strikes me as being a humorous homage to the pixel. All those dots! Perfect for viewing in the Pop Art Display gallery on Solaris Island in Second Life.
The creator of ‘Love Dot’ (and many other fine works) is known as Rob Steenhorst in the physical world (a.k.a. ‘Real Life’) and Rob Barber in the virtual world of Second Life. It is intriguing to think of the artist exploring Second Life, the thought of the real and virtual Bobs looking into, and out of, the 3D digital space sets up an intriguing image of a corridor of mirrors reflecting into infinity. I like to say to those who have no idea what a virtual world is like that it will appeal to them if they are of a visual disposition (as it is so like walking into a painting.) Those of us who spend time exploring this numerical space of bits and bytes of shared imagination eventually find our perception of what is ‘real’ shifting like a set of loose tectonic plates; rearranging our awareness and perception of just what might really qualify as reality. The surprise is that the human brain can so swiftly learn to tolerate not one but a multitude of realities, grasping and accommodating them quickly, organizing them into suits like shuffled playing cards. The exhibition ‘Sporting Life’ provides us with a glimpse of what Bob Steenhorst/Barber sees when he looks into, and out of, his various worlds and realities.
Poet Karina Hoisan has set herself the challenge of writing four poems based upon Rob Steenhorst’s images (he selects the images and she then composes her poems around the particular selection). Visit her blog Digital Rabbit Hole to see the first two of these poems My Beloved Moth’s Burning Flame (based on the image Straattonee/ Streetscene above) and Sand Pit (a sorry tale about a kingly pig in a tub). This collaboration illustrates nicely how an art piece can reach beyond its original inspiration. Incidentally, the silvery thin spider’s thread that linked Karina in Costa Rica with Rob in the Nederlands was a virtual art gallery created in the pixel space called PAD – the Pop Art Display, Solaris Island in Second Life.
Zeegang / Sea swell (above) illustrates how each Bob Barber/Steenhorst image precariously balances humor with anxiety, these emotions roll around inside our heads like tennis balls careening around a drinks tray. We are drawn into the images by the beautiful technique of the artist, we feel this hint of a joke and the gnaw of anxiety bumping into and reacting against each other. The balancing act presses unknown stories upon us with their untold outcomes.
Visit Rob Barber / Bob Steenhorst at PAD – Pop Art Display, Solaris Island to see more of his images.
Updates to this blog post
Poem number 3:
See Karina Hoisan’s poem Sea Swell over on the Digital Rabbit Hole and read her poetic interpretation of Zeegang/Sea Swell (above).
Poem number 4: