Wednesday, August 30, 2023

The Shui Mo Gallery

By Gemma Cleanslate

Last week Andee Cooper’s  VAI tour group visited two galleries lead by Isa (Isalia Michalak) who is an aficionado of art. Our first visit was to the Shui Mo Gallery which is the installation of Fionafei. I am familiar with Fionafei’s art from Burn2 and various exhibits in Second Life. Her art is, “ Chinese ink brush painting, depicting a common theme or landscape seen in many traditional Chinese paintings.” At first glance on arrival it looks like a simple gallery of brush art on the wall. Take a close look. In almost every piece there is movement. At the end of the gallery is a red door and here is the real beginning .Enter and behold! Become part of the art.

Now you are facing a huge hall filled with black and white moving or still. This is the Dreams Garden Plot where one can float or pose on the umbrellas scattered around or dance while you admire the stunning garden and reflection under the floor . Koi swim gracefully around under the floor. There are four doors above on the bridge, two to the left and two to the right. One however shows an under construction sign.

Fionafei graciously stopped by to thank us for visiting her gallery and presented us all with a personal Koi like the ones swimming in the Garden Plot. She informed us she is creating a new exhibit that will fill the room behind the construction sign and invited us all to return to see it and I certainly will. I want to spend more time in the rooms examining all the stunning figures in each.We entered the first door. What a surprise. It is a full village of homes. Walk among them to see how they are “built”. This is where Fionafei is such an expert in her distinctive style. She is a Chinese American and loves to be in touch through her art with her ancestors and celebrate the “old masters who painted in this beautiful art style” she says. Fionafei told us she was inspired to create the village from her visits to Shanghai.

The third room holds Dragons intertwining and moving . Walk around so you can experience the dragons from different angles so you are viewing the art in 3d. Try another door. Inside the you will find a huge room full of windows from all over the world just hanging in the air and below the floor. This is a visit not to be missed. 

Here is the entrance to Shui Mo.

Some background on the region appears on the notecard available at the gallery.

“About the Dreams Sim


Shui Mo hovers over Dreams, a sim dedicated to helping and supporting stroke survivors and people with autism by means of regular group meetings, classes, games, and creative building contests. The goal of the Shui Mo Gallery is to give the visitors and the Dreams community the feel of being fully immersed inside a 2D drawing as well as an escape from even 'virtual' reality, where the 3D space melts away into the mind of the artist. Initially designed as a stand-alone art installation is now also used to house many of my other Second Life sculptures and installations. “

I will tell you about the other fantastic gallery another day. 

Gemma Cleanslate