January 14, 2019

Can a more sensory experience lead us back to nature?

Julie-Ann Simpson, 27

We are living in a digital age: we are living in a time when we crave the handmade. So much has been lost through the scentless, flatness of the screen. There is a strong desire to dig in soil; knead bread, clay, flesh. Nurture plants, pluck flowers and swim in the sea. Painting can be a meditation, as is cooking, bathing, singing and any number of activities. And although this may sound like a list hijacked by the wellness movement, I feel that this speaks to something far more ancient and necessary about what it is to be in the body – and, by extension, what it is to be in the world.
To engage with the physical body and the landscape we inhabit can be a profound pleasure and liberation. In other words, an invitation to look at our bodies with gratitude instead of disgust or dissatisfaction and then look beyond this frame of reference to engage with larger issues, not least of all those of an environmental nature. Through sensory experience, being conscious of our bodies, we can remind ourselves of our animal nature and thus more keenly observe the state of the earth and our responsibility to it.

The Bather
Oil on canvas
61 x 76cm