Virtual art is more than meets the eye

Murky Waters' new exhibit brings virtual art to life

In a hidden gallery on the bank of Ross Creek lies an enchanted forest. Within that forest a virtual art exhibit awaits…  if you’re brave enough to look the monsters in the eye!

The Forest Has Eyes is the latest group exhibit at Murky Waters Studio. The interactive display encourages visitors to discover the creatures lurking unseen, by downloading an augmented reality app to bring them to life.

32 artists have contributed virtual art works IMAGES: Supplied

Artists Michael Pope and Benny Mac curated the show which brings together the work of 32 local artists. Michael said the contributing artists all had pre-existing works that featured monsters.

“Whether they’re cute or whether they’re scary there is a little ‘monster pool’ of local artists,” said Michael.

“Benny and I could have done all the monsters, but when we looked at how many eyes there were we kind of backed off.

“I love the difference in monsters that comes from a group exhibit. Some are cartoony, some are more graph, some are really, really skilled animators. We gave artists the brief: “here’s some tiny eyes, make a monster.”

The novelty of the virtual art experience is certainly drawing a crowd. During my visit the forest quickly fills with monster-seekers and a chorus of ooohs and aaahs as new creatures reaveal themselves.

“Most people have been shocked that you can use an app to do something like this,” said Benny.

“It’s not something that a lot of people have been exposed to. The technology from our side of things wasn’t difficult to use, people just hadn’t seen it yet.”

Benny said the monsters had definitely drawn more children into that gallery than usual.

“That’s good to see because they’re going to be the next group of artists coming through. If we can inspire the next generation of people who want to be involved in the creative arts, there can be no more important role to play.”

The forest inked by Benny Mac and Michael Pope IMAGE: Supplied
The Artivive app brings virtual art to life IMAGE: Supplied

The Forest Has Eyes includes the work of the following artists: : Carly Sheil, Rob Donaldson, Rob Douma, Sonia Ward, Katya Venter, Ashleigh Jane and Nick Williams, Tszar, Emily Hamilton, Jonathan Stigter, Danish Quapoor, Grace Jefferson, Luke Ede, Marc Roth, Michael Pope, Benny Mac, Jan Hynes, Luke Duffy, Jeax and Jarrah, Robert Crispe, Barat one, Prudence Terry, Kirsten Walsh, Shane Keen, Emily Hamilton, KATÖ, Imogen McLeay, Alyssa McLeay, Georgie Edwards, Amelie Edwards and Ella Edwards.

The Forest Has Eyes is on show at Murky Waters Studio until 24 April 2022.

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