Mindful – why do we make things?
Recently, I visited the Society for Contemporary Craft over in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. You escape the shopping frenzy of the Strip as soon as you enter the spacious and light filled gallery. There’s no crowds and I’ve no idea why. There are things to buy in the classy gift shop; admission to it and the gallery is FREE! Best of all, the exhibitions are intriguing.
The current show is Mindful: Exploring Mental Health through Art, which runs until March 12th, 2016. NOTE: Due to popular demand the exhibit has been extended until the 26th of March.
There are 30 pieces from 14 artists. The artworks look at how mental illness impacts individuals, families and society. Mindful also explores the “role the arts can play to both encourage positive self-expression and guide effective mental health promotion and treatment.”
I didn’t take that many photographs and the ones that I did get are not exactly fab. Photographing installations is much harder than snapping pics of hats! And that’s surprisingly challenging.
One of my favorite pieces is by Lyn Godley. This is just a section of the whole piece and it doesn’t capture the tiny fiber optic lights that are within the drawings. The piece is very large and very beautiful.
While I read much of the accompanying gallery signage, this quote is interesting upon revisiting via the website.
The work has also shown to have physiological effect on the audience. During a solo exhibit in Cologne, Germany we found viewers would sit down and stay in the gallery for up to three hours and returning multiple times to do the same. Research has shown that the particular wavelength of light we are using is the same as is used in light therapy, resulting in reduction of stress and actually calming the body. We are now experimenting with making the lighting in my work even more interactive with the audience.
Godly makes the connection between the nature-based subjects of her lightworks, and scientific research on how certain wavelengths of light can calm on her website.
Really quite interesting! Especially, as it was her work which I spent the most time gazing upon!
You can see the catalog for the Mindful exhibition here.
And there is a short video here.
Why do we create?
Is it the glow that comes over us as we wonder and dream and think ‘what about that?’ Or, is it ‘what would happen if….?’ Or do we create to become mindful to something outside our daily lives?
Comparing a felted hat to an art installation on mental health seems a bit of a stretch, but I do believe that the connection is similar. That there is a need to look inward and create something external. Back in art school, one of the guest critics lamented that so many were studying art. I didn’t say a peep, but even at 20, I knew why this was so. We needed to create.
What do you think?
Why do you create?