We all live sensory, rich lives. Some disabled people have a limited access to sensory experiences and stimulation. They have sensory or physical impairments who live in a restricted environment, who actively avoid stimulation. “Sensory stimulation is necessary for cognitive development” its literally how our brains our wired. “it is essential to the maintenance of our capacities”.
A certain amount of impairment in disabilities is due to a lack of sensory experience. Multi-sensory rooms can be used as a vital part of aiding disability. People have even been stimulated to develop further and maintain brain function and experience.
Sensory Stimulation supports memory. The context of a room is the sounds and smells within it etc. Context supports memory. An example of this is when you leave a room and forget what you were doing and then return to it and remember what you were doing, this obviously links in with sensory stimulation helping dementia. With Dementia, sensory memory still exists even if knowledge and physical memory doesn’t. Sensory tools can make places feel familiar to them etc.
Sensory stimulation promotes engagement with life. It can aid people with depression. Disability can mean for example you hear something but you can’t turn your head to see or cannot reach out and touch something to see how it feels. Many disabled children give up trying and sensory stimulation can help. Sensory stimulation aids concentration and therefore learning. Giving someone something to focus on. It is easier to concentrate when more senses are engaged.
Sensory stimulation is important for everyday. Particularly people with autism, PMLD, Sensory impairments, learning disabilities, infants and the elderly, dementia, depression, sensory processing disorder.
Sensory Processing is the information you get from your senses so that you are able to respond to the situation appropriately. If you have a low neurological threshold – everyday experiences are too much/too many senses etc. If you have a high neurological threshold – everyday sensory experience is not enough. Some use an active behaviour strategy and block out the sensory world. High thresholds use active behaviour strategy to seek out the sensory experiences. Others are very passive in their behaviour and are distracted/uncomfortable or bored. For individuals with sensory processing difficulties sensory stories offer the opportunity to encounter new stimuli in a safe setting, build a tolerance of stimuli and rehearse reactions to stimuli. Also, in stories we are braver and able to do and cope with things better.
Sensory stories are stories read with sensory experiences that echo the words of the stories – they look to address the sense.
Within this field module, I will be introduced to a diverse number of approaches to drawing experiences. It will focus around three key elements: Drawing, Creative Strategies and ways in which ideas develop. The location of this first introductory session, was Craft in the Bay, Situated in Cardiff Bay.
Why Craft in the Bay?
We are working in Craft in the Bay because of the interest and links a current exhibition called “The Sensory Object” has with Drawing experience. Sensorial Objects are similar to drawing experience in that they both arise the questions: How can we sensate the world? How can we crystallize a sensation in an artwork? They deal with the language of expression and the translation from inanimate object to the emotional/sensorial realm.
Perception is active. Active engagement with artwork is key to people becoming emotionally and sensorially engaged with your work. If you want them to feel something, you need to think about how they engage with the art.
The Sensory Object: Drawing Experience
Sensory connects with emotionally. Emotions and senses are housed in the same place. For example, you see something soft and you feel comfort. From browsing this exhibition and undertaking this field option I should learn different ways of capturing sensory and emotional values in artworks and drawings and explore what to do with that knowledge.
Synaesthesia – A fusion of the Senses
Merlau Ponty explores relevant themes in his 1962 book – “The phenomenology of Perception”. It highlights your bodily presence in the world and how you experience the world around you. For example, you do not understand texture by looking at it, only when you touch it do you fully comprehend it.
Jac Saorsa 2014 – Drawing Women’s Cancer
Jac Saorsa uses the vocabulary of drawing to speak to people about their illnesses, in a human way. She helps people understand what is happening to them and encourages them and supports them through it through her art. “In this space, Practice itself becomes the voice of suffering”. The work is visually successful in my opinion, but also houses a deeper purpose and a powerful aid to sufferers. It is incredibly interesting to think about how pieces of art heighten certain senses or speak to people or help them through things. Expression in drawing can be very powerful. Fragility in quality of line etc echoes dealing with a sense of life.
Harry Ally – Painting and Process
Harry Ally’s work contains an incompleteness that suggests rather than illustrates. Suggestion brings context and meaning. I am very inspired by this work and I feel that it allows the viewer to delve into their imagination and visualise the suggested in their own way. This work contains physical depth in the layering of materials on top of one another which can relate to emotional depth.
What can be felt through quality of Line?
What can a drawn mark do? Can it Scar or cut? Time is embedded within it. Can drawing enable us to explore experiences? Can our drawing enable others to explore experience?
Drawing can take someone on a journey, through a connection from Line to sensation to emotion. Drawing can be used as a tool that can heighten your experience of the world as a means to explore and examine. It can also be used to heighten the experience of others. Children perceive the world without thinking about it, children are curious, all senses are live.
The Ideas of John Berger 2002
John Berger maintains that you can make beautiful drawings, that speak of virtuosity and ability. The act of drawing and process can get you to look at things with such focus and consideration that it allows your mind to think differently about it. The drawing can speak to you, you impose certain values on that piece of paper. When drawing observationally, another reality could arise from it – imagination. Drawing can allow fictitious themes to slip in. Drawing can slow things down.
Why do we draw? Why do we create?
We create things that weren’t there before, but link in to the inspirations and experiences of the world.
I can already see how this option will be beneficial to my practice and current subject work. I want to portray my own experience of my local landscape and a connection to the place but I also want others to gain experience from it and feel a connection to the landscape and the natural objects within it. I feel like this option will encourage me to consider how the marks made and materials used can evoke emotional and sensory experiences. I also think it will open my eyes to linking my work to place and experience in a wider variety of ways. It is important that my work could send someone on a journey or encourage thinking and I am looking forward to putting this into practice through drawing and applying what I learn into my artistic practice and subject work.
What is my place in the world?
Do I belong there?
Caspar David Friedrich – Monk by the Sea
Comparing it to a classical Landscape – Richard Wilson, The White Monk 1760-65
Caspar David Friedrich – Morning in the Sudeten Mountains 1810-11
How does Friedrich’s painting differ from wilsons? Colour palette, mood.
How do the painters think about religion?
Wilson seems more distant from religion than Friedrich. Friedrich is thinking of religion organising our relationship with the natural world.
In Caspar David Friedrich – Monk by the Sea – What time of day is it?
Written about as a lightless dawn. For the monk, the dawn isn’t important as it is for the pair on the mountain in the other piece.
Do you think that this place is real or imaginary?
It is a culmination of experience . Long flat horizon. Empty paintings.
Jan Van Goyen – View of Harlem 1646
Alternating pattern of light and dark, Colours lighter in the distance, more full of colour in the foreground. There is more cloud perspective than in friedrichs work. Friedrich’s is much flatter. Distance becomes flatter and more immense because there are no markers in it.
Mark Rothko 1969 – Is there still distance in this picture? Does it look like a place to you? There are similarities to Friedrich’s work. It is stark and there is a fluctuation between flatness and deep space.
There is a lot of fine detail in Friedrich’s Monk by the sea. It makes it look more like a portrait of the place. When you notice a painting has fine detail, you walk in closer to it. Having an intimate relationship with the work. The artist must be thinking about where he wants the spectator to be. The monk isn’t entirely resolved in himself.
What is the relationship between these figures and their surroundings?
Caspar David Friedrich – The wanderer above the sea of mist
The figure is taking possession of a view, dominating the landscape. He wants to be there and he is in control.
The Chasseur in the Forest 1814
The landscape is dominating the figure here, he has no horse, he is lost and not in control. He’s french, the forest is german. Friedrich is a nationalist. German land rising up against the french invaders. Vulnerable.
Francis Danby – Romantic Woodland landscape 1824-5
Will nature accept us? Romantics think of nature in a more psychological way than an ecological way.
Anselm Kiefer, Varus 1976 – For Kiefer, Germany begins with Slaughter in the forest.
Marina Neudecker – Things can change in a day 2009
Models in vitrines suspended in liquid. Does the vitrine intensify the situation or distance you from it? Like a cinema screen, they encourage you to project yourself into the scene.
How does a group rather than a solitary figure alter the confrontation with nature?
Caspar David Friedrich – Chalk Cliffs at Rugen 1818 – less vulnerable, more people – However, not a strong sense of communication.
Is the Visible World enough?
Classical Landscape is a name given to a type of painting – developed in the 17th century. Related to History Painting. Some have narratives and some don’t. Mood and atmosphere is conveyed within the paintings
Is the artists job simply to record the appearance of the world, or to transform it?
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with a Calm 1650-1. Based in Rome. Peaceful/neutral. More movement in the sky, contrasted with a static lake and a still and calm foreground. The people are small and insignificant in comparison to nature. A vision of an ordered, harmonious society.
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with St.John on Patmas 1640
Is the relation betweeen humans and nature the same as in the Landscape with a calm? How is history represented?
It is more like land left behind. Have humans taken advantage? Have they moved on? Even though, John is sitting, he is not really entwined into the work like the people in the other piece.
Nicolas Poussin – Landscape with the body of Phocion – carried out of Athens 1648. This has a narrative. Alternatiing bands of dark and light. Neverending path it seems. The city is close enough to be important in the painting, but far enough away that we stop being able to see how we could get there. There is a complicated visual access to the city
Nicolas Poussin – A Roman road. An announcement of technological Power. Political, This kind of depth, perspective is highly technologically advanced for the 17th Century
Charles Sheeler – Classic Landscape 1931
Where is the nature in this Landscape?
It has gone, However: there is natural organisation in the pile of earth and sand
Charles Sheerler – American Landscape 1930
Is he being ironic calling this a landscape? Even though there is no nature within the picture, it is a man-made landscape. Does he want us to find these scenes beautiful or ugly? Brighter lighting, reflections, some bright colours, making it look more appealing but very geometric.
George Shaw – Scenes from a Passion: 2002: Paints areas where he grew up. A question is posed about the conventions we use to describe reality
George Shaw – The blocked Drain – 2010
(not a version of Poussins roman road) but does our knowledge of it affect how we view this?
The first road seems new and innovative. George Shaws seems barren and disregarded.
Gregory Crewdsen, The madison 2007
Takes still photos, but like a hollywood movie. The road is always the same road continuing. Imagining the thoughts of the landscape from the figures perspective.
Gregory Crewdsen, untitled (Beneath the roses) 2007
What is the relation between nature and culture here?
Organic elements separate from man made, degraded nature. The nature is not lush greenery, it is weeds. Could be hopeful after destruction, is nature reclaiming it?
Gregory Crewdsen – Beneath the roses 2006
Beneath the surface, looking deeper, a metaphor?
Relationship between the two people – could they be lovers? Could be an attacker and she is a victim. Soothing or disturbing? Degraded nature again and disturbing elements.
Nicolas Poussin – Echo and harcissus 1630
Eduardo Manet – Le dejuner sur (l’herbe 1863)
Do these paintings change the way that we look at Crewdsen’s photographs? In what way?
An exploration of working as an artist in an international community context
Mothers of Africa is a Charity Organisation that aims to lower the amount of Mothers dying in Child birth and the amount of babies losing their lives in Africa. Sue Hunt went out to Zambia to create artwork with a community that supported the work of the charity organisation. She went to explore ways of making visual work with local artists and villagers, maybe giving them a voice, empowering them and helping them to express their needs visually.
Within this Lecture, we were shown images of what resources in Zambia are like. We thought about how community artwork can be hampered by social context. For example, they has no art materials and had to source them for projects. Art can be used in this sense to bring communities together and get people conversing that usually would not interact with one another.
Art was not often taught in schools in Zambia and so it was welcomed with open arms. Sue Hunt and a team of people ran workshops for the Zambian adults and children like Cyanotype, photography projects and they all made murals together. Works were then framed and displayed in the hospital where the mothers of africa charity comes into play. They were there for all to view, to lift spirits and make the bear walls more appealing. They also got villagers to write down messages of what was wanted and needed within the village and hospital to produce work from.
This lecture was a prime example of the role of the artist bringing communities together achieveing the lifting of spirits and encouraging change. This has inspired me to think about how I could maybe work with communities in the future and work on art based projects.