The Art of Seeing with Mary Attwood

This is just a quick post to recommend Mary Attwood’s monthly one hour sessions on The Art of Seeing. I attended my first session in this series this week in which we looked closely at one sculpture by Antony Gormley. This was the sculpture – Feeling Material XIV (2005).

For the first 15 minutes we were invited to look slowly at the image of the sculpture, taking a mindfulness approach to observing the details. We did this in silence, with audio muted, and, if we wished, with video switched off. During this time of silence, Mary projected slides of the sculpture from different angles for us to observe. We were asked to engage imaginatively with the sculpture through reflection, writing and drawing or however we wished to respond, seeing round it and through it.

There were about 16 participants in the session who all had unique responses to this work, but it was also possible to detect common threads.

Mary then shared with us her knowledge of Gormley’s work including this writing by Gormley:

I particularly liked the first 15 minutes of silent observation in this session. Such a relief from constantly being required to speak and explain our thinking, although we were also invited to do this. So there was a very nice balance in this session which I found both stimulating and relaxing.

3 thoughts on “The Art of Seeing with Mary Attwood

  1. Lisa M Lane May 10, 2021 / 10:03 pm

    This sounds like good pedagogy. People have noticed that Zoom study sessions with students, where the students just work with camera and/or mic on, free to say something or not, are quite popular. Perhaps we can use such communication software to allow more time for thought.

  2. jennymackness May 12, 2021 / 7:24 am

    That’s interesting Lisa. The zoom study sessions sound less structured than this Art of Seeing session. I wonder if they work well for all students.

  3. Lisa M Lane May 12, 2021 / 5:14 pm

    The number of students attending is higher, and they seem to mind less being on camera. This suggests to me that it is the performative demand that causes resistance, just like in an on-site classroom. One could combine it, I think, as Art of Seeing has done, with more formal aspects.

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