HistoryIn the early days of the World Wide Web many websurfers began their journeys at the NCSA Mosaic homepage.
Mosaic was an early graphical web browser being developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. Netscape was a commercial spinoff from that effort.
I'd long been interested in both presenting paintings online, and in virtual gallery experiences. My very first attempt at an online exhibition was listed on the NSCA Mosaic home page in the early 1990s. Mosaic's homepage was a changing compendium of what was then happening on the Web.
Fast forward to 2010. I had been playing a game online called Yoville. Yoville was a small virtual town with a virtual economy, and the ability to communicate in realtime with other players via avatars that you would dress, coif and deploy. You could chat with these other players, meet new ones, even give them gifts or barter for possessions. You could also accumulate properties. Your first was acquired simply by joining the game, and consisted of an apartment in a ritzy high-rise.
My second property was an old abandoned police station. I eventually acquired a haunted house, a trailer, a yacht, a flying saucer, an expensive condo, a Japanese home, a castle and a home made out of a pumpkin, all purchased with YoCash or YoCoin.
I decided to turn my Yoville apartment into a gallery. One of the items you could purchase on the Yoville market was a picture frame that you could upload your own image to. I purchased a stack of those. My Yoville gallery had three showrooms, a storage and prep room, an office and a bathroom. We invited other Yo players to our openings, which were packed with avatars.
In the spring of 2021 I began talking with friends William Dubin and John Laney about the possibility of creating a 3D virtual walkthrough gallery experience. Brick and mortar galleries were already doing this using Google Street View and the Matterform platform, but these required a real-world gallery as a starting point. I began researching and discovered the Kunstmatrix platform, a suite of online tools designed for artists, galleries and museums. Within a matter of days I had cobbled together a basic website, and the first two exhibitions; one of my own work, and one for William Dubin's watercolors.
Our third exhibition, WHAT IS FOUND THERE, features the work of 8 Contemporary Realists. It also is the first time that we've attempted to promote the exhibition with an opening reception using the Zoom meetings app. This has been an evolving experiment, and I'm excited to see what the future might bring. I hope that you will continue this journey with us.