Judge’s Notebook 9: Shenn Coleman

Shenn Coleman expresses spirituality from the real into the virtual. Progressing through levels of enlightenment, contemplation of this work considers the reality of beliefs. Perhaps it is the spiritual that connects them.
Review by Eleanor Medier, judge, for the UWA 3D Art Competition, Transcending Borders, in Judge’s Notebook.

o-SSJ#13-UWA-shenn-B9- “Sunrise Spirit” by Shenn Coleman

This spherically contained work fuses a realism of progressive symbols. Swirling about are mists and light beams, with gleams of ghostly repeating forms flying upward. Upon closer examination, these gleams are human shapes—like spirits. And sure enough, there is a realistic portrayal of a person with this gleam ascending from her head. Is this death and the spirit leaving the body?

To approach the ultimate border of life/death is very brave. It connotes questions of mortality, science, religion, and the underlying fear of the unknown. To represent through universally understood forms, without being too inclusive, brings a variety of viewers into its contemplative influence.

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The ascending spirit form has both a light and a dark version. Every culture has a judgement between good/evil—what is acceptable and what is punishable. Expressed here without prejudice, the concept of continuum and pattern shows an acceptance of these forces.

Then there is the Buddah as the conclusion. The swirl below expresses progression and eternity, so this is the most concretely cultural reference. Yet, flying about is a flower-like angelic form, as if to say—wait, there is more to this story. Humans can only know a glimpse, and thus represent with a form-like a statue. The spiritual reality can’t really be known, for it is not part of this physical world. The cyber can better express, but even this is a limitation. There are borders that can be approximated, but the ultimate one must be experienced to be known.

Eleanor Medier, critic

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(Please see “Judge’s Journal” in Sim Street Journal #13 in-world edition for a comparative analysis, including against the winners.) The in-world edition of Sim Street Journal #13 is available in kiosks and at the Sim Street Journal SL Office (Innu 40, 36, 1649) or download PDF here Sim Street Journal #13
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INDEX for all contributors and articles
Sim Street Journal #1: Virtual Reveals Real
Sim Street Journal #2: The Old in the New
Sim Street Journal #3: Magicians of Meaning
Sim Street Journal #4: Telling Stories
Sim Street Journal #5: Champions of Expression
Sim Street Journal #6: Overlapping Realities
Sim Street Journal #7: Luck Created
Sim Street Journal #8: Facing the Inevitable
Sim Street Journal #9: Motivated Learning
Sim Street Journal #10: Serious Fun
Sim Street Journal #11: Fantasy Fulfillment
Sim Street Journal #12: Insights from Extremes
Sim Street Journal #13: Bridging Boundaries

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Liane Sebastian wears an editor’s hat, designer’s coat, and artist’s shoes.

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